Spontaneous Discontinuities in Galactic Magnetic Fields and the Creation of Galactic X-ray Halos

E. N. Parker
1990 Symposium - International astronomical union  
The magnetic field in the gaseous disk of the galaxy is dynamically unstable to undulations with wavelengths of the order of 1 kpc. The elevated portions of the field are subject to rapid inflation (~ 50 km/sec) by the cosmic rays produced within the gaseous disk. The result is a magnetic halo of 1–3 × 10−6gauss, composed of close packed bipolar lobes of field extending outward from the surface of the disk to distances of several kpc. The inflation is presumably irregular, producing tangential
more » ... oducing tangential discontinuities (current sheets) throughout the extended bipolar fields. A major portion of the magnetic energy is dissipated by rapid reconnection at these current sheets, heating the tenuous halo gas to temperatures of 106− 107°K and producing the X-ray emission observed from the halos of many spiral galaxies.
doi:10.1017/s0074180900189879 fatcat:gtg7udw5ovfqjb3irb2kc5n6g4