AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 59. Dust
Display, Tuesday, January 8, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[59.03] The Effect of Dust Grains on Reconnection in Molecular Clouds

M. A. Shay (University of Maryland), B. N. Rogers (Dartmouth College), L. Rudakov (University of Maryland), E. Zweibel (University of Colorado)

Magnetic reconnection enables a plasma system to convert magnetic energy into high speed flows and thermal energy. It is thought to play an important role in a broad range of astrophysical systems, including the interstellar medium, molecular clouds, the solar atmosphere, and accretion disks. However, it is widely accepted that reconnection is very slow unless effects beyond standard magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) come into play. Charged dust grains, because of their large Larmor radii, can have an important role in such non-MHD processes. We have derived a simple set of fluid equations valid in a plasma where the dust has a very small charge density but a large mass density relative to the ions. Such a parameter regime is relevant to molecular clouds. We will present a linear analysis of the waves in these equations and discuss their relation to reconnection in dusty plasmas, especially stressing the interplay between dust particles and neutrals. Finally, we will present initial fluid simulations of reconnection in dusty plasmas.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: shay@glue.umd.edu

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