A Model for the Generation of Magnetohydrodynamic Waves by High-altitude Nuclear Bursts

by R. F. Lutomirski

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A model for the generation of magnetohydrodynamic waves by high-altitude nuclear bursts is presented which approximates the physical conditions present immediately following the detonation of a nuclear device. This model of the debris expanding into the upper ionosphere-exosphere is taken to be a conducting sphere expanding at a constant velocity into a magnetoplasma, pushing the magnetic field aside and then abruptly stopping. It is found that the system does exhibit hydromagnetic radiation, which is calculated, and that this radiation can in some cases be much less than the hydromagnetic yield of the device. For a given device, the radiation depends strongly on the local value of the Alfven speed at the burst altitude.

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