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The Evidence for Electrical Currents in Cosmic Plasma

Anthony L. Peratt
Year: 1990
With the advent of fully three-dimensional, fully electromagnetic, particle-in-cell simulations, investigations of Birkeland currents and magnetic-field-aligned electric fields have become possible in plasmas not accessible to in situ measurement, i.e., in plasmas having the dimensions of galaxies or systems of galaxies. The necessity for a three-dimensional electromagnetic approach derives from the fact that the evolution of magnetized plasmas involves complex geometries, intense self-fields, nonlinearities, and explicit time-dependence. A comparison of the synchrotron radiation properties of simulated currents to those of extragalactic sources provides observational evidence for galactic-dimensional Birkeland currents.