The Petschek model for incompressible reconnexion has been put on a firm mathematical foundation in an earlier paper by Soward & Priest, who discovered a ‘local’ similarity solution for the process. The present paper extends that analysis to compressible reconnexion, in which the previous Alfvén waves are replaced by slow magneto-acoustic shocks of switch-off type. By contrast with a previous suggestion, it is found unnecessary to include intermediate waves standing ahead of the slow shocks. The maximum reconnexion rate is typically half of Petschek's stated value, though faster rates are achieved when the external gas pressure is sufficiently low.
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