A Caltech Library Service

Spheromaks, solar prominences, and Alfvén instability of current sheets

Bellan, P. M. and Yee, J. and Hansen, J. F. (2001) Spheromaks, solar prominences, and Alfvén instability of current sheets. Earth, Planets and Space, 53 (6). pp. 495-499. ISSN 1880-5981.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Three related efforts underway at Caltech are discussed: experimental studies of spheromak formation, experimental simulation of solar prominences, and Alfvén wave instability of current sheets. Spheromak formation has been studied by using a coaxial magnetized plasma gun to inject helicity-bearing plasma into a very large vacuum chamber. The spheromak is formed without a flux conserver and internal λ profiles have been measured. Spheromak-based technology has been used to make laboratory plasmas having the topology and dynamics of solar prominences. The physics of these structures is closely related to spheromaks (low β, force-free, relaxed state equilibrium) but the boundary conditions and symmetry are different. Like spheromaks, the equilibrium involves a balance between hoop forces, pinch forces, and magnetic tension. It is shown theoretically that if a current sheet becomes sufficiently thin (of the order of the ion skin depth or smaller), it becomes kinetically unstable with respect to the emission of Alfvén waves and it is proposed that this wave emission is an important aspect of the dynamics of collisionless reconnection.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access
Bellan, P. M.0000-0002-0886-8782
Additional Information:© The Society of Geomagnetism and Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences (SGEPSS); The Seismological Society of Japan; The Volcanological Society of Japan; The Geodetic Society of Japan; The Japanese Society for Planetary Sciences. 2001. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Received July 26, 2000; Revised January 4, 2001; Accepted February 19, 2001. Supported by the United States Department of Energy.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170808-070510642
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Bellan, P.M., Yee, J. & Hansen, J.F. Earth Planet Sp (2001) 53: 495.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79899
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:08 Aug 2017 16:57
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:25

Repository Staff Only: item control page