(Received 16 November 1998; accepted 11 January 1999)
Magnetic reconnection has been studied experimentally in a well-controlled, two-dimensional laboratory magnetohydrodynamic plasma. The observations are found to be both qualitatively and quantitatively consistent with a generalized Sweet-Parker model which incorporates compressibility, downstream pressure, and the effective resistivity. The latter is significantly enhanced over its classical values in the collisionless limit. This generalized Sweet-Parker model also applies to the case in which a unidirectional, sizable third magnetic component is present. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.
PACS: 52.55.-s, 52.30.-q
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