Radiation-Mediated Shocks: Kinetic Processes and Transition to Collisionless Shocks
We analyze the main features of radiation-mediated shocks at arbitrary shock velocities, both non-relativistic and relativistic. We describe two mechanisms, which may lead to formation of a sharp viscous subshock within otherwise smooth velocity profile at the shock front, even if the radiation pressure in the upstream is overwhelmingly large. These mechanisms are specific to sub-relativistic and relativistic radiation-mediated shocks and set high-velocity shocks apart from their non-relativistic counterparts, which do not develop a subshock if the radiation pressure is high enough. We briefly discuss implications of this finding.
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