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Sample records for forced magnetic reconnection

  1. Nonlinear regimes of forced magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Vekstein, G.; Kusano, K.

    2015-09-15

    This letter presents a self-consistent description of nonlinear forced magnetic reconnection in Taylor's model of this process. If external boundary perturbation is strong enough, nonlinearity in the current sheet evolution becomes important before resistive effects come into play. This terminates the current sheet shrinking that takes place at the linear stage and brings about its nonlinear equilibrium with a finite thickness. Then, in theory, this equilibrium is destroyed by a finite plasma resistivity during the skin-time, and further reconnection proceeds in the Rutherford regime. However, realization of such a scenario is unlikely because of the plasmoid instability, which is fast enough to develop before the transition to the Rutherford phase occurs. The suggested analytical theory is entirely different from all previous studies and provides proper interpretation of the presently available numerical simulations of nonlinear forced magnetic reconnection.

  2. Forced Magnetic Reconnection In A Tokamak Plasma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Callen, J. D.; Hegna, C. C.

    2015-11-01

    The theory of forced magnetic field reconnection induced by an externally imposed resonant magnetic perturbation usually uses a sheared slab or cylindrical magnetic field model and often focuses on the potential time-asymptotic induced magnetic island state. However, tokamak plasmas have significant magnetic geometry and dynamical plasma toroidal rotation screening effects. Also, finite ion Larmor radius (FLR) and banana width (FBW) effects can damp and thus limit the width of a nascent magnetic island. A theory that is more applicable for tokamak plasmas is being developed. This new model of the dynamics of forced magnetic reconnection considers a single helicity magnetic perturbation in the tokamak magnetic field geometry, uses a kinetically-derived collisional parallel electron flow response, and employs a comprehensive dynamical equation for the plasma toroidal rotation frequency. It is being used to explore the dynamics of bifurcation into a magnetically reconnected state in the thin singular layer around the rational surface, evolution into a generalized Rutherford regime where the island width exceeds the singular layer width, and assess the island width limiting effects of FLR and FBW polarization currents. Support by DoE grants DE-FG02-86ER53218, DE-FG02-92ER54139.

  3. MICROFLARE ACTIVITY DRIVEN BY FORCED MAGNETIC RECONNECTION

    SciTech Connect

    Jess, D. B.; Mathioudakis, M.; Crockett, P. J.; Keenan, F. P.; Browning, P. K.

    2010-03-20

    High cadence, multiwavelength, optical observations of a solar active region, obtained with the Swedish Solar Telescope, are presented. Two magnetic bright points are seen to separate in opposite directions at a constant velocity of 2.8 km s{sup -1}. After a separation distance of {approx}4400 km is reached, multiple Ellerman bombs are observed in both H{alpha} and Ca-K images. As a result of the Ellerman bombs, periodic velocity perturbations in the vicinity of the magnetic neutral line, derived from simultaneous Michelson Doppler Imager data, are generated with amplitude {+-}6 km s{sup -1} and wavelength {approx}1000 km. The velocity oscillations are followed by an impulsive brightening visible in H{alpha} and Ca-K, with a peak intensity enhancement of 63%. We interpret these velocity perturbations as the magnetic field deformation necessary to trigger forced reconnection. A time delay of {approx}3 minutes between the H{alpha}-wing and Ca-K observations indicates that the observed magnetic reconnection occurs at a height of {approx}200 km above the solar surface. These observations are consistent with theoretical predictions and provide the first observational evidence of microflare activity driven by forced magnetic reconnection.

  4. The "Newton Challenge": Properties of Forced Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pritchett, P. L.

    2005-05-01

    Inspired by the observations of thin (ion-scale) current sheets at important magnetospheric boundaries, the study of the properties of thin current sheets has become very popular in recent years. Most of these investigations, however, have ignored the question of how the sheets are formed. Instead, usually a simple Harris-type current sheet is postulated at the outset, and the resulting behavior is then determined. Recently, a collaborative effort, dubbed the "Newton Challenge" and involving J. Birn, K. Galsgaard, M. Hesse, M. Hoshino, J. Huba, G. Lapenta, P.~L. Pritchett, K. Schindler, L. Yin, J. Büchner, T. Neukirch, and E.~R. Priest, was begun to investigate the transition from thicker to thin current sheets that can occur as a result of magnetopause deformations imposed by the solar wind. A standard 2-D model problem in which current sheet thinning was forced by imposing a finite deformation of the field above and below the current sheet was studied by a variety of physical models ranging from resistive MHD to fully kinetic particle models. The aim was to determine whether differences would arise between the fluid and kinetic treatments that might affect the onset of magnetic reconnection. The initial results indicate that full-particle, hybrid, and Hall-MHD models lead to fast reconnection and similar final states despite differences in energy transfer and dissipation. Resistive MHD simulations show reduced reconnection rates that depend on the magnitude of the resistivity. These results will be reviewed, and additional features of forced reconnection, including continuous forcing, open boundaries, the presence of a normal field component, and 3-D effects, will be discussed.

  5. Experiments on the effects of global force balance and local reconnection physics on magnetic reconnection with a guide field

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fox, W.; Sciortino, F.; Yoo, J.; Jara-Almonte, J.; Na, B.; Ji, H.; Yamada, M.

    2015-11-01

    In many plasma environments ranging from astrophysics to fusion, magnetic reconnection occurs with a finite guide field ranging from a fraction to many times the upstream reconnecting component. Theory and simulation yields a range of predictions of scaling of the rate of reconnection with guide field. Recent experiments on the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment observed a systematic decrease in reconnection rates with increasing guide field. Here we present a new set of experimental results on MRX with a controlled applied guide magnetic field ranging from 0 to approximately 3 times the upstream reconnection field, where we observe both global and local processes which affect the reconnection rate in the guide field regime. First, we observe and quantify the effects of global force balance, in particular global back pressure due to pileup of magnetic field in the downstream, which decreases the outflow of plasma from the current sheet and hence the reconnection rate. Second, we study the role of electron pressure in the generalized Ohm's law in the guide field regime and its role in setting the reconnection rate.

  6. Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Video Gallery

    This science visualization shows a magnetospheric substorm, during which, magnetic reconnection causes energy to be rapidly released along the field lines in the magnetotail, that part of the magne...

  7. Magnetic Reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Masaaki Yamada, Russell Kulsrud and Hantao Ji

    2009-09-17

    We review the fundamental physics of magnetic reconnection in laboratory and space plasmas, by discussing results from theory, numerical simulations, observations from space satellites, and the recent results from laboratory plasma experiments. After a brief review of the well-known early work, we discuss representative recent experimental and theoretical work and attempt to interpret the essence of significant modern findings. In the area of local reconnection physics, many significant findings have been made with regard to two- uid physics and are related to the cause of fast reconnection. Profiles of the neutral sheet, Hall currents, and the effects of guide field, collisions, and micro-turbulence are discussed to understand the fundamental processes in a local reconnection layer both in space and laboratory plasmas. While the understanding of the global reconnection dynamics is less developed, notable findings have been made on this issue through detailed documentation of magnetic self-organization phenomena in fusion plasmas. Application of magnetic reconnection physics to astrophysical plasmas is also brie y discussed.

  8. On transition from Alfvén resonance to forced magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Luan, Q.; Wang, X.

    2014-07-15

    We revisit the transition from Alfvén resonance to forced magnetic reconnection with a focus on the property of their singularities. As the driven frequency tends to zero, the logarithmic singularity of Alfvén resonance shifts to the power-law singularity of forced reconnection, due to merging of the two resonance layers. The transition criterion depends on either kinetic effects or dissipations that resolve the singularity. As an example, a small but finite resistivity η is introduced to investigate the transition process. The transition threshold is then obtained as the driven frequency reaches a level of ∼O((η/k){sup 1/3})

  9. Physics of forced magnetic reconnection in coaxial helicity injection experiments in National Spherical Torus Experiment

    SciTech Connect

    Ebrahimi, F.; Bhattacharjee, A.; Raman, R.; Hooper, E. B.; Sovinec, C. R.

    2014-05-15

    We numerically examine the physics of fast flux closure in transient coaxial helicity injection (CHI) experiments in National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX). By performing resistive Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulations with poloidal injector coil currents held constant in time, we find that closed flux surfaces are formed through forced magnetic reconnection. Through a local Sweet-Parker type reconnection with an elongated current sheet in the injector region, closed flux surfaces expand in the NSTX global domain. Simulations demonstrate outflows approaching poloidally Alfvénic flows and reconnection times consistent with the Sweet-Parker model. Critical requirements for magnetic reconnection and flux closure are studied in detail. These primary effects, which are magnetic diffusivity, injector flux, injector flux footprint width, and rate of injector voltage reduction, are simulated for transient CHI experiments. The relevant time scales for effective reconnection are τ{sub V}<τ{sub rec}≈τ{sub A}√(S)(1+Pm){sup 1/4}<τ{sub R}, where τ{sub V} is the time for the injector voltage reduction, τ{sub A} is the poloidal Alfvén transit time, τ{sub R} is the global resistive diffusion time, and Pm and S are Prandtl and Lundquist numbers.

  10. Explosive turbulent magnetic reconnection.

    PubMed

    Higashimori, K; Yokoi, N; Hoshino, M

    2013-06-21

    We report simulation results for turbulent magnetic reconnection obtained using a newly developed Reynolds-averaged magnetohydrodynamics model. We find that the initial Harris current sheet develops in three ways, depending on the strength of turbulence: laminar reconnection, turbulent reconnection, and turbulent diffusion. The turbulent reconnection explosively converts the magnetic field energy into both kinetic and thermal energy of plasmas, and generates open fast reconnection jets. This fast turbulent reconnection is achieved by the localization of turbulent diffusion. Additionally, localized structure forms through the interaction of the mean field and turbulence. PMID:23829741

  11. Reconnection of Magnetic Fields

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1984-01-01

    Spacecraft observations of steady and nonsteady reconnection at the magnetopause are reviewed. Computer simulations of three-dimensional reconnection in the geomagnetic tail are discussed. Theoretical aspects of the energization of particles in current sheets and of the microprocesses in the diffusion region are presented. Terrella experiments in which magnetospheric reconnection is simulated at both the magnetopause and in the tail are described. The possible role of reconnection in the evolution of solar magnetic fields and solar flares is discussed. A two-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic computer simulation of turbulent reconnection is examined. Results concerning reconnection in Tokamak devices are also presented.

  12. Magnetic reconnection in space

    SciTech Connect

    Boozer, Allen H.

    2012-09-15

    Models of magnetic reconnection in space plasmas generally consider only a segment of the magnetic field lines. The consideration of only a segment of the lines is shown to lead to paradoxical results in which reconnection can be impossible even in a magnetic field constrained to be curl free or can be at an Alfven rate even when the plasma is a perfect conductor. A model of reconnecting magnetic fields is developed which shows the smallness of the interdiffusion distance {delta}{sub d} of magnetic field lines does not limit the speed of reconnection but does provide a reconnection trigger. When the reconnection region has a natural length L{sub r}, the spatial scale of the gradient of magnetic field across the magnetic field lines must reach L{sub g} Almost-Equal-To 0.3L{sub r}/ln(L{sub r}/{delta}{sub d}) for fast reconnection to be triggered, which implies a current density j Almost-Equal-To B/{mu}{sub 0}L{sub g} that is far lower than that usually thought required for fast reconnection. The relation between magnetic reconnection in space and in toroidal laboratory plasmas is also discussed.

  13. Reversible collisionless magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Ishizawa, A.; Watanabe, T.-H.

    2013-10-15

    Reversible magnetic reconnection is demonstrated for the first time by means of gyrokinetic numerical simulations of a collisionless magnetized plasma. Growth of a current-driven instability in a sheared magnetic field is accompanied by magnetic reconnection due to electron inertia effects. Following the instability growth, the collisionless reconnection is accelerated with development of a cross-shaped structure of current density, and then all field lines are reconnected. The fully reconnected state is followed by the secondary reconnection resulting in a weakly turbulent state. A time-reversed simulation starting from the turbulent state manifests that the collisionless reconnection process proceeds inversely leading to the initial state. During the reversed reconnection, the kinetic energy is reconverted into the original magnetic field energy. In order to understand the stability of reversed process, an external perturbation is added to the fully reconnected state, and it is found that the accelerated reconnection is reversible when the deviation of the E × B streamlines due to the perturbation is comparable with or smaller than a current layer width.

  14. Magnetic reconnection launcher

    DOEpatents

    Cowan, Maynard

    1989-01-01

    An electromagnetic launcher includes a plurality of electrical stages which are energized sequentially in synchrony with the passage of a projectile. Each stage of the launcher includes two or more coils which are arranged coaxially on either closed-loop or straight lines to form gaps between their ends. The projectile has an electrically conductive gap-portion that passes through all the gaps of all the stages in a direction transverse to the axes of the coils. The coils receive an electric current, store magnetic energy, and convert a significant portion of the stored magnetic energy into kinetic energy of the projectile by magnetic reconnection as the gap portion of the projectile moves through the gap. The magnetic polarity of the opposing coils is in the same direction, e.g. N-S-N-S. A gap portion of the projectile may be made from aluminum and is propelled by the reconnection of magnetic flux stored in the coils which causes accelerating forces to act upon the projectile at both the rear vertical surface of the projectile and at the horizontal surfaces of the projectile near its rear. The gap portion of the projectile may be flat, rectangular and longer than the length of the opposing coils and fit loosely within the gap between the opposing coils.

  15. The evolution of the ion diffusion region during collisionless magnetic reconnection in a force-free current sheet

    SciTech Connect

    Zhou, Fushun; Huang, Can Lu, Quanming; Wang, Shui; Xie, Jinlin

    2015-09-15

    Two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation is performed to investigate magnetic reconnection in a force-free current sheet. The results show that the evolution of the ion diffusion region has two different phases. In the first phase, the electrons flow toward the X line along one pair of separatrices and away from the X line along the other pair of separatrices. Therefore, in the ion diffusion region, a distorted quadrupole structure of the out-of-plane magnetic field is formed, which is similar to that of a typical guide field reconnection in the Harris current sheet. In the second phase, the electrons move toward the X line along the separatrices and then flow away from the X line at the inner side of the separatrices. In the ion diffusion region, the out-of-plane magnetic field exhibits a characteristic quadrupole pattern with a good symmetry, which is similar to that of antiparallel reconnection in the Harris current sheet.

  16. Forced magnetic reconnection and field penetration of an externally applied rotating helical magnetic field in the TEXTOR tokamak.

    PubMed

    Kikuchi, Y; de Bock, M F M; Finken, K H; Jakubowski, M; Jaspers, R; Koslowski, H R; Kraemer-Flecken, A; Lehnen, M; Liang, Y; Matsunaga, G; Reiser, D; Wolf, R C; Zimmermann, O

    2006-08-25

    The magnetic field penetration process into a magnetized plasma is of basic interest both for plasma physics and astrophysics. In this context special measurements on the field penetration and field amplification are performed by a Hall probe on the dynamic ergodic divertor (DED) on the TEXTOR tokamak and the data are interpreted by a two-fluid plasma model. It is observed that the growth of the forced magnetic reconnection by the rotating DED field is accompanied by a change of the plasma fluid rotation. The differential rotation frequency between the DED field and the plasma plays an important role in the process of the excitation of tearing modes. The momentum input from the rotating DED field to the plasma is interpreted by both a ponderomotive force at the rational surface and a radial electric field modified by an edge ergodization. PMID:17026312

  17. THEMIS Sees Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Video Gallery

    THEMIS observations confirm for the first time that magnetic reconnection in the magnetotail triggers the onset of substorms. Substorms are the sudden violent eruptions of space weather that releas...

  18. Reconnection rates of magnetic fields

    SciTech Connect

    Park, W.; Monticello, D.A.; White, R.B.

    1983-05-01

    The Sweet-Parker and Petschek scalings of magnetic reconnection rate are modified to include the effect of the viscosity. The modified scalings show that the viscous effect can be important in high-..beta.. plasmas. The theoretical reconnection scalings are compared with numerical simulation results in a tokamak geometry for three different cases: a forced reconnection driven by external coils, the nonlinear m = 1 resistive internal kink, and the nonlinear m = 2 tearing mode. In the first two cases, the numerical reconnection rate agrees well with the modified Sweet-Parker scaling, when the viscosity is sufficiently large. When the viscosity is negligible, a steady state which was assumed in the derivation of the reconnection scalings is not reached and the current sheet in the reconnection layer either remains stable through sloshing motions of the plasma or breaks up to higher m modes. When the current sheet remains stable, a rough comparison with the Sweet-Parker scaling is obtained. In the nonlinear m = 2 tearing mode case where the instability is purely resistive, the reconnection occurs on the slower dissipation time scale (Psi/sub s/ approx. eta). In addition, experimental data of the nonlinear m = 1 resistive internal kink in tokamak discharges are analyzed and are found to give reasonable agreement with the modified Sweet-Parker scaling.

  19. Gyrotropy During Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Swisdak, M.

    2015-12-01

    Gyrotropic particle distributions -- those that can be characterized completely by temperatures meausred parallel and perpendicular to the local magnetic field -- are the norm in many plasmas. However, near locations where magnetic topology suddenly changes, e.g., where magnetic reconnection occurs, gyrotropy can be expected to be violated. If these departures from gyrotropy are quantifiable they are useful as probes since magnetic topological changes are, in some sense, non-local while gyrotropy can be measured locally. I will discuss previously proposed measures of gyrotropy, give examples of cases where they give unphysical results, and propose a new measure. By applying this measure to particle-in-cell simulations of reconnection I will show that it does an excellent job of localizing reconnection sites. I will also show how gyrotropy can be quickly calculated in any case where the full pressure tensor is available. This has obvious applications to the interpretation of MMS data.

  20. Forcing continuous reconnection in hybrid simulations

    SciTech Connect

    Laitinen, T. V. Janhunen, P.; Jarvinen, R.; Kallio, E.

    2014-07-15

    We have performed hybrid simulations of driven continuous reconnection with open boundary conditions. Reconnection is started by a collision of two subsonic plasma fronts with opposite magnetic fields, without any specified magnetic field configuration as initial condition. Due to continued forced plasma inflow, a current sheet co-located with a dense and hot plasma sheet develops. The translational symmetry of the current sheet is broken by applying a spatial gradient in the inflow speed. We compare runs with and without localized resistivity: reconnection is initiated in both cases, but localized resistivity stabilizes it and enhances its efficiency. The outflow speed reaches about half of Alfvén speed. We quantify the conversion of magnetic energy to kinetic energy of protons and to Joule heating and show that with localized resistivity, kinetic energy of protons is increased on average five-fold in the reconnection in our simulation case.

  1. Magnetic reconnection launcher

    DOEpatents

    Cowan, M.

    1987-04-06

    An electromagnetic launcher includes a plurality of electrical stages which are energized sequentially in the launcher with the passage of a projectiles. Each stage of the launcher includes two or more coils which are arranged coaxially on either closed-loop or straight lines to form gaps between their ends. The projectile has an electrically conductive gap-portion that passes through all the gaps of all the stages in a direction transverse to the axes of the coils. The coils receive an electric current, store magnetic energy, and convert a significant portion of the stored magnetic energy into kinetic energy of the projectile moves through the gap. The magnetic polarity of the opposing coils is in the same direction, e.g. N-S-N-S. A gap portion of the projectile may be made from aluminum and is propelled by the reconnection of magnetic flux stored in the coils which causes accelerating forces to act upon the projectile and at the horizontal surfaces of the projectile near its rear. The gap portion of the projectile may be flat, rectangular and longer than the length of the opposing coils. The gap portion of the projectile permits substantially unrestricted distribution of the induced currents so that current densities are only high where the useful magnetic force is high. This allows designs which permit ohmic oblation from the rear surfaces of the gap portion of the projectile allowing much high velocities to be achieved. An electric power apparatus controls the electric power supplied to the opposing coils until the gap portion of the projectile substantially occupies the gap between the coils, at which time the coils are supplied with peak current quickly. 8 figs.

  2. Turbulent General Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eyink, G. L.

    2015-07-01

    Plasma flows with a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD)-like turbulent inertial range, such as the solar wind, require a generalization of general magnetic reconnection (GMR) theory. We introduce the slip velocity source vector per unit arclength of field line, the ratio of the curl of the non-ideal electric field in the generalized Ohm’s Law and magnetic field strength. It diverges at magnetic nulls, unifying GMR with null-point reconnection. Only under restrictive assumptions is the slip velocity related to the gradient of quasi-potential (which is the integral of parallel electric field along magnetic field lines). In a turbulent inertial range, the non-ideal field becomes tiny while its curl is large, so that line slippage occurs even while ideal MHD becomes accurate. The resolution is that ideal MHD is valid for a turbulent inertial range only in a weak sense that does not imply magnetic line freezing. The notion of weak solution is explained in terms of renormalization group (RG) type theory. The weak validity of the ideal Ohm’s law in the inertial range is shown via rigorous estimates of the terms in the generalized Ohm’s Law. All non-ideal terms are irrelevant in the RG sense and large-scale reconnection is thus governed solely by ideal dynamics. We discuss the implications for heliospheric reconnection, in particular for deviations from the Parker spiral model. Solar wind observations show that reconnection in a turbulence-broadened heliospheric current sheet, which is consistent with Lazarian-Vishniac theory, leads to slip velocities that cause field lines to lag relative to the spiral model.

  3. Acceleration during magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Beresnyak, Andrey; Li, Hui

    2015-07-16

    The presentation begins with colorful depictions of solar x-ray flares and references to pulsar phenomena. Plasma reconnection is complex, could be x-point dominated or turbulent, field lines could break due to either resistivity or non-ideal effects, such as electron pressure anisotropy. Electron acceleration is sometimes observed, and sometimes not. One way to study this complex problem is to have many examples of the process (reconnection) and compare them; the other way is to simplify and come to something robust. Ideal MHD (E=0) turbulence driven by magnetic energy is assumed, and the first-order acceleration is sought. It is found that dissipation in big (length >100 ion skin depths) current sheets is universal and independent on microscopic resistivity and the mean imposed field; particles are regularly accelerated while experiencing curvature drift in flows driven by magnetic tension. One example of such flow is spontaneous reconnection. This explains hot electrons with a power-law tail in solar flares, as well as ultrashort time variability in some astrophysical sources.

  4. Nonlinear Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Grasso, D.; Tassi, E.; Borgogno, D.; Pegoraro, F.

    2008-10-15

    We review some recent results that have been obtained in the investigation of collisionless reconnection in two and three dimensional magnetic configurations with a strong guide field in regimes of interest for laboratory plasmas. First, we adopt a two-field plasma model where two distinct regimes, laminar and turbulent, can be identified. Then, we show that these regimes may combine when we consider a more general four-field model, where perturbation of the magnetic and velocity fields are allowed also along the ignorable coordinate.

  5. Inhomogeneous turbulence in magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yokoi, Nobumitsu

    2016-07-01

    Turbulence is expected to play an essential role in enhancing magnetic reconnection. Turbulence associated with magnetic reconnection is highly inhomogeneous: it is generated by inhomogeneities of the field configuration such as the velocity shear, temperature gradient, density stratification, magnetic shear, etc. This self-generated turbulence affects the reconnection through the turbulent transport. In this reconnection--turbulence interaction, localization of turbulent transport due to dynamic balance between several turbulence effects plays an essential role. For investigating inhomogeneous turbulence in a strongly nonlinear regime, closure or turbulence modeling approaches provide a powerful tool. A turbulence modeling approach for the magnetic reconnection is introduced. In the model, the mean-field equations with turbulence effects incorporated are solved simultaneously with the equations of turbulent statistical quantities that represent spatiotemporal properties of turbulence under the effect of large-scale field inhomogeneities. Numerical simulations of this Reynolds-averaged turbulence model showed that self-generated turbulence enhances magnetic reconnection. It was pointed out that reconnection states may be divided into three category depending on the turbulence level: (i) laminar reconnection; (ii) turbulent reconnection, and (iii) turbulent diffusion. Recent developments in this direction are also briefly introduced, which includes the magnetic Prandtl number dependence, spectral evolution, and guide-field effects. Also relationship of this fully nonlinear turbulence approach with other important approaches such as plasmoid instability reconnection will be discussed.

  6. Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection in Space Plasmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Treumann, Rudolf A.; Baumjohann, Wolfgang

    2013-12-01

    Magnetic reconnection, the merging of oppositely directed magnetic fields that leads to field reconfiguration, plasma heating, jetting and acceleration, is one of the most celebrated processes in collisionless plasmas. It requires the violation of the frozen-in condition which ties gyrating charged particles to the magnetic field inhibiting diffusion. Ongoing reconnection has been identified in near-Earth space as being responsible for the excitation of substorms, magnetic storms, generation of field aligned currents and their consequences, the wealth of auroral phenomena. Its theoretical understanding is now on the verge of being completed. Reconnection takes place in thin current sheets. Analytical concepts proceeded gradually down to the microscopic scale, the scale of the electron skin depth or inertial length, recognizing that current layers that thin do preferentially undergo spontaneous reconnection. Thick current layers start reconnecting when being forced by plasma inflow to thin. For almost half a century the physical mechanism of reconnection has remained a mystery. Spacecraft in situ observations in combination with sophisticated numerical simulations in two and three dimensions recently clarified the mist, finding that reconnection produces a specific structure of the current layer inside the electron inertial (also called electron diffusion) region around the reconnection site, the X line. Onset of reconnection is attributed to pseudo-viscous contributions of the electron pressure tensor aided by electron inertia and drag, creating a complicated structured electron current sheet, electric fields, and an electron exhaust extended along the current layer. We review the general background theory and recent developments in numerical simulation on collisionless reconnection. It is impossible to cover the entire field of reconnection in a short space-limited review. The presentation necessarily remains cursory, determined by our taste, preferences, and kn

  7. Does fast magnetic reconnection exist?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Priest, E. R.; Forbes, T. G.

    1992-01-01

    The main features of the Priest-Forbes (1986) and Priest-Lee (1990) models of magnetic reconnection in astrophysical plasmas are discussed, and the Priest-Lee model is generalized to include inflow pressure gradients and thus different regimes of reconnection. It is shown that different scaling results can be obtained depending on the boundary conditions. These results are compared to the ones observed in the numerical experiments of Biskamp (1986) and Lee and Fu (1986). It is concluded that numerical experiments with suitably designed boundary conditions are likely to exhibit fast reconnection, and that such reconnection is a common process in astrophysical and space plasmas.

  8. Radiative Magnetic Reconnection in Astrophysics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uzdensky, D. A.

    In this chapter we review a new and rapidly growing area of research in high-energy plasma astrophysics—radiative magnetic reconnection, defined here as a regime of reconnection where radiation reaction has an important influence on the reconnection dynamics, energetics, and/or nonthermal particle acceleration. This influence be may be manifested via a variety of radiative effects that are critical in many high-energy astrophysical applications. The most notable radiative effects in astrophysical reconnection include radiation-reaction limits on particle acceleration, radiative cooling, radiative resistivity, braking of reconnection outflows by radiation drag, radiation pressure, viscosity, and even pair creation at highest energy densities. The self-consistent inclusion of these effects into magnetic reconnection theory and modeling sometimes calls for serious modifications to our overall theoretical approach to the problem. In addition, prompt reconnection-powered radiation often represents our only observational diagnostic tool available for studying remote astrophysical systems; this underscores the importance of developing predictive modeling capabilities to connect the underlying physical conditions in a reconnecting system to observable radiative signatures. This chapter presents an overview of our recent theoretical progress in developing basic physical understanding of radiative magnetic reconnection, with a special emphasis on astrophysically most important radiation mechanisms like synchrotron, curvature, and inverse-Compton. The chapter also offers a broad review of key high-energy astrophysical applications of radiative reconnection, illustrated by multiple examples such as: pulsar wind nebulae, pulsar magnetospheres, black-hole accretion-disk coronae and hot accretion flows in X-ray Binaries and Active Galactic Nuclei and their relativistic jets, magnetospheres of magnetars, and Gamma-Ray Bursts. Finally, this chapter discusses the most critical

  9. The Dissipation Mechanism of Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hesse, Michael

    2008-01-01

    Magnetic reconnection is arguably the most efficient transport and energy conversion mechanism in almost ideal plasmas. Reconnection controls the overall dynamics in space and astrophysics plasmas, as well as in many laboratory plasma systems. Reconnection operates by means of a localized diffusion region, where deviations from the plasma idealness condition generate electric fields and permit plasma transport even far away from the diffusion region itself. Recent advances in analytic theory and computer modeling have begun to shed light on the internal dynamics of the diffusion region. In particular, we begin to understand the delicate nature of the force balance in the inner diffusion region, where particles can become unmagnetized and where electric field forces are important. This presentation will provide a brief introduction of the reconnection process and its applications. This introduction will be followed by a detailed analysis of the current understanding of dissipation region physics, and by an outlook toward future research.

  10. The Inner Workings of Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hesse, Michael; Zenitani, S.

    2007-01-01

    Magnetic reconnection is arguably the most efficient transport and energy conversion mechanism in almost ideal plasmas. Reconnection controls the overall dynamics in space and astrophysics plasmas, as well as in many laboratory plasma systems. Reconnection operates by means of a localized diffusion region, where deviations from the plasma idealness condition generate electric fields and permit plasma transport even far away from the diffusion region itself. Recent advances in analytic theory and computer modeling have begun to shed light on the internal dynamics of the diffusion region. In particular, we begin to understand the delicate nature of the force balance in the inner diffusion region, where particles can become unmagnetized and where electric field forces are important. This presentation will provide a brief introduction of the reconnection process and its applications. This introduction will be followed by a detailed analysis of the current understanding of dissipation region physics, and by an outlook toward future research.

  11. Multiscale Modeling of Solar Coronal Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Antiochos, Spiro K.; Karpen, Judith T.; DeVore, C. Richard

    2010-01-01

    Magnetic reconnection is widely believed to be the primary process by which the magnetic field releases energy to plasma in the Sun's corona. For example, in the breakout model for the initiation of coronal mass ejections/eruptive flares, reconnection is responsible for the catastrophic destabilizing of magnetic force balance in the corona, leading to explosive energy release. A critical requirement for the reconnection is that it have a "switch-on' nature in that the reconnection stays off until a large store of magnetic free energy has built up, and then it turn on abruptly and stay on until most of this free energy has been released. We discuss the implications of this requirement for reconnection in the context of the breakout model for CMEs/flares. We argue that it imposes stringent constraints on the properties of the flux breaking mechanism, which is expected to operate in the corona on kinetic scales. We present numerical simulations demonstrating how the reconnection and the eruption depend on the effective resistivity, i.e., the effective Lundquist number, and propose a model for incorporating kinetic flux-breaking mechanisms into MHO calculation of CMEs/flares.

  12. Observational Signatures of Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Savage, Sabrina

    2014-01-01

    Magnetic reconnection is often referred to as the primary source of energy release during solar flares. Directly observing reconnection occurring in the solar atmosphere, however, is not trivial considering that the scale size of the diffusion region is magnitudes smaller than the observational capabilities of current instrumentation, and coronal magnetic field measurements are not currently sufficient to capture the process. Therefore, predicting and studying observationally feasible signatures of the precursors and consequences of reconnection is necessary for guiding and verifying the simulations that dominate our understanding. I will present a set of such observations, particularly in connection with long-duration solar events, and compare them with recent simulations and theoretical predictions.

  13. Magnetic Reconnection in Solar Flares

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forbes, Terry G.

    2016-05-01

    Reconnection has at least three possible roles in solar flares: First, it may contribute to the build-up of magnetic energy in the solar corona prior to flare onset; second, it may directly trigger the onset of the flare; and third, it may allow the release of magnetic energy by relaxing the magnetic field configuration to a lower energy state. Although observational support for the first two roles is somewhat limited, there is now ample support for the third. Within the last few years EUV and X-ray instruments have directly observed the kind of plasma flows and heating indicative of reconnection. Continued improvements in instrumentation will greatly help to determine the detailed physics of the reconnection process in the solar atmosphere. Careful measurement of the reconnection outflows will be especially helpful in this regard. Current observations suggest that in some flares the jet outflows are accelerated within a short diffusion region that is more characteristic of Petschek-type reconnection than Sweet-Parker reconnection. Recent resistive MHD theoretical and numerical analyses predict that the length of the diffusion region should be just within the resolution range of current X-ray and EUV telescopes if the resistivity is uniform. On the other hand, if the resistivity is not uniform, the length of the diffusion region could be too short for the outflow acceleration region to be observable.

  14. Magnetic reconnection models of flares

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Forbes, T. G.

    1988-01-01

    The most feasible energy source for solar and stellar flares is the energy stored in coronal magnetic fields. To convert a significant fraction of this energy into heat and kinetic energy in a short time requires rapid change in the topology of the magnetic fields, and hence, rapid reconnection of field lines. Recent numerical and analytical models of solar flares suggest that the magnetic energy released by reconnection drives chromospheric ablation in the flare ribbons. Simple theoretical arguments based on compressible reconnection theory predict that the temperature of the ablated plasma should be about 1.03 x 10 to the 6th B exp 0.62 K where B is the coronal magnetic field strength in Gauss.

  15. Crossed Flux Tubes Magnetic Reconnection Experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tobin, Zachary; Bellan, Paul

    2012-10-01

    The dynamics of arched, plasma-filled flux tubes have been studied in experiments at Caltech. These flux tubes expand, undergo kink instabilities, magnetically reconnect, and are subject to magnetohydrodynamic forces. An upgraded experiment will arrange for two of these flux tubes to cross over each other. It is expected then that the flux tubes will undergo magnetic reconnection at the crossover point, forming one long flux tube and one short flux tube. This reconnection should also result in a half-twist in the flux tubes at the crossover point, which will propagate along each tube as Alfv'en waves. The control circuitry requires two independent floating high energy capacitor power supplies to power the plasma loops, which will be put in series when the plasma loops reconnect. Coordinating these two power supplies requires the building of new systems for controlling plasma generation. Unlike with previous designs, all timing functions are contained on a single printed circuit board, allowing the design to be easily replicated for use with each independent capacitor involved. The control circuit sequencing has been tested successfully in generating a single flux tube. The plasma gun is currently under construction, with its installation pending completion of prior experiments.

  16. Magnetohydrodynamic simulations of turbulent magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Fan Quanlin; Feng Xueshang; Xiang Changqing

    2004-12-01

    Turbulent reconnection process in a one-dimensional current sheet is investigated by means of a two-dimensional compressible one-fluid magnetohydrodynamic simulation with spatially uniform, fixed resistivity. Turbulence is set up by adding to the sheet pinch small but finite level of broadband random-phased magnetic field components. To clarify the nonlinear spatial-temporal nature of the turbulent reconnection process the reconnection system is treated as an unforced initial value problem without any anomalous resistivity model adopted. Numerical results demonstrate the duality of turbulent reconnection, i.e., a transition from Sweet-Parker-like slow reconnection to Petschek-like fast reconnection in its nonlinear evolutionary process. The initial slow reconnection phase is characterized by many independent microreconnection events confined within the sheet region and a global reconnection rate mainly dependent on the initially added turbulence and insensitive to variations of the plasma {beta} and resistivity. The formation and amplification of the major plasmoid leads the following reconnection process to a rapid reconnection stage with a fast reconnection rate of the order of 0.1 or even larger, drastically changing the topology of the global magnetic field. That is, the presence of magnetohydrodynamic turbulence in large-scale current sheets can raise the reconnection rate from small values on the order of the Sweet-Parker rate to high values on the order of the Petscheck rate through triggering an evolution toward fast magnetic reconnection. Meanwhile, the backward coupling between the small- and large-scale magnetic field dynamics has been properly represented through the present high resolution simulation. The undriven turbulent reconnection model established here expresses a solid numerical basis for the previous schematic two-step magnetic reconnection models and a possible explanation of two-stage energy release process of solar explosives.

  17. Spontaneous magnetic reconnection. Collisionless reconnection and its potential astrophysical relevance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Treumann, R. A.; Baumjohann, W.

    2015-10-01

    The present review concerns the relevance of collisionless reconnection in the astrophysical context. Emphasis is put on recent developments in theory obtained from collisionless numerical simulations in two and three dimensions. It is stressed that magnetic reconnection is a universal process of particular importance under collisionless conditions, when both collisional and anomalous dissipation are irrelevant. While collisional (resistive) reconnection is a slow, diffusive process, collisionless reconnection is spontaneous. On any astrophysical time scale, it is explosive. It sets on when electric current widths become comparable to the leptonic inertial length in the so-called lepton (electron/positron) "diffusion region", where leptons de-magnetise. Here, the magnetic field contacts its oppositely directed partner and annihilates. Spontaneous reconnection breaks the original magnetic symmetry, violently releases the stored free energy of the electric current, and causes plasma heating and particle acceleration. Ultimately, the released energy is provided by mechanical motion of either the two colliding magnetised plasmas that generate the current sheet or the internal turbulence cascading down to lepton-scale current filaments. Spontaneous reconnection in such extended current sheets that separate two colliding plasmas results in the generation of many reconnection sites (tearing modes) distributed over the current surface, each consisting of lepton exhausts and jets which are separated by plasmoids. Volume-filling factors of reconnection sites are estimated to be as large as {<}10^{-5} per current sheet. Lepton currents inside exhausts may be strong enough to excite Buneman and, for large thermal pressure anisotropy, also Weibel instabilities. They bifurcate and break off into many small-scale current filaments and magnetic flux ropes exhibiting turbulent magnetic power spectra of very flat power-law shape W_b∝ k^{-α } in wavenumber k with power becoming as

  18. Hall magnetic reconnection: Guide field dependence

    SciTech Connect

    Huba, J.D.

    2005-01-01

    Two-dimensional Hall magnetohydrodynamic simulations are used to study the dependence of a guide field on magnetic reconnection. The simulations are run until a steady state is achieved for B{sub gf}/B{sub 0}=0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 5.0 where B{sub gf} is the guide field and B{sub 0} is the reversed field. It is found that the reconnection rate and plasma energization are reduced for increasing guide field strength. This is caused by a JxB force associated with Hall currents and the guide field that reduce the inflow and outflow velocities. However, the reconnection rate and plasma energization are only reduced by a factor of 2 for B{sub gf}=5B{sub 0}. Additionally, the quadrupole field associated with Hall reconnection is eliminated for B{sub gf}{approx_equal}B{sub 0}/3. Applications to magnetospheric plasmas are discussed.

  19. Slipping magnetic reconnection in coronal loops.

    PubMed

    Aulanier, Guillaume; Golub, Leon; Deluca, Edward E; Cirtain, Jonathan W; Kano, Ryouhei; Lundquist, Loraine L; Narukage, Noriyuki; Sakao, Taro; Weber, Mark A

    2007-12-01

    Magnetic reconnection of solar coronal loops is the main process that causes solar flares and possibly coronal heating. In the standard model, magnetic field lines break and reconnect instantaneously at places where the field mapping is discontinuous. However, another mode may operate where the magnetic field mapping is continuous but shows steep gradients: The field lines may slip across each other. Soft x-ray observations of fast bidirectional motions of coronal loops, observed by the Hinode spacecraft, support the existence of this slipping magnetic reconnection regime in the Sun's corona. This basic process should be considered when interpreting reconnection, both on the Sun and in laboratory-based plasma experiments. PMID:18063789

  20. Quantifying gyrotropy in magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Swisdak, M.

    2016-01-01

    A new scalar measure of the gyrotropy of a pressure tensor is defined. Previously suggested measures are shown to be incomplete by means of examples for which they give unphysical results. To demonstrate its usefulness as an indicator of magnetic topology, the new measure is calculated for electron data taken from numerical simulations of magnetic reconnection, shown to peak at separatrices and X points, and compared to the other measures. The new diagnostic has potential uses in analyzing spacecraft observations, and so a method for calculating it from measurements performed in an arbitrary coordinate system is derived.

  1. Plasma Compression in Magnetic Reconnection Regions in the Solar Corona

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Provornikova, E.; Laming, J. M.; Lukin, V. S.

    2016-07-01

    It has been proposed that particles bouncing between magnetized flows converging in a reconnection region can be accelerated by the first-order Fermi mechanism. Analytical considerations of this mechanism have shown that the spectral index of accelerated particles is related to the total plasma compression within the reconnection region, similarly to the case of the diffusive shock acceleration mechanism. As a first step to investigate the efficiency of Fermi acceleration in reconnection regions in producing hard energy spectra of particles in the solar corona, we explore the degree of plasma compression that can be achieved at reconnection sites. In particular, we aim to determine the conditions for the strong compressions to form. Using a two-dimensional resistive MHD numerical model, we consider a set of magnetic field configurations where magnetic reconnection can occur, including a Harris current sheet, a force-free current sheet, and two merging flux ropes. Plasma parameters are taken to be characteristic of the solar corona. Numerical simulations show that strong plasma compressions (≥4) in the reconnection regions can form when the plasma heating due to reconnection is efficiently removed by fast thermal conduction or the radiative cooling process. The radiative cooling process that is negligible in the typical 1 MK corona can play an important role in the low corona/transition region. It is found that plasma compression is expected to be strongest in low-beta plasma β ˜ 0.01–0.07 at reconnection magnetic nulls.

  2. Magnetic reconnection in space and laboratory plasmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hones, E. W., Jr.

    1984-04-01

    AGU is publishing Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas, as volume 30 of the Geophysical Monograph Series (members $23.10; nonmembers $33.00). This volume is based on the Chapman Conference on Magnetic Reconnection, which was held at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in October 1983. Organization of that conference was first considered in early 1981, at a time when the body of evidence for the occurrence and importance of magnetic reconnection in earth's magnetosphere had already become impressive and was continuing to increase rapidly. There had not been a major conference on the subject since 1977, and the intervening years had seen important new strides being made. Initial plans called for holding the conference in October 1982, but conflicts with other conferences forced its postponement for 1 year. The 1-year postponement turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it permitted major new magnetospheric observations, made during that year by the ISEE 3 satellite, to be reported at the conference.

  3. Wave modes facilitating fast magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Singh, N.

    2011-12-01

    Whistler and kinetic Alfven waves are often invoked to explain fast magnetic reconnection in collsionless plasmas. But how these wave modes facilitate the reconnection has remained unclear. An important unanswered question deals with the meaning of the wave frequency in the context of magnetic reconnection. New measurement on a fast explosive reconnection event in the Versatile Toroidal Facility (VTF) at MIT provides an interesting example of the meaning of the wave mode and the associated frequency directly related to the time scale of the impulsive reconnection. We examine the measurements in VTF in view of the whistler wave mode, showing that the explosive growth in the reconnection is related to the thinning of the current sheet to a few electron skin depths. We further demonstrate that the fastest measured time scale (~ 3 microseconds) and the largest normalized reconnection rate (~0.35) agree with those predicted from the whistler mode dispersion relation.

  4. Slip Running Reconnection in Magnetic Flux Ropes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gekelman, W. N.; Van Compernolle, B.; Vincena, S. T.; De Hass, T.

    2012-12-01

    Magnetic flux ropes are due to helical currents and form a dense carpet of arches on the surface of the sun. Occasionally one tears loose as a coronal mass ejection and its rope structure can be detected by satellites close to the earth. Current sheets can tear into filaments and these are nothing other than flux ropes. Ropes are not static, they exert mutual ěc{J}×ěc{B} forces causing them to twist about each other and eventually merge. Kink instabilities cause them to violently smash into each other and reconnect at the point of contact. We report on experiments on two adjacent ropes done in the large plasma device (LAPD) at UCLA ( ne ˜ 1012, Te ˜ 6 eV, B0z=330G, Brope}\\cong{10G,trep=1 Hz). The currents and magnetic fields form exotic shapes with no ignorable direction and no magnetic nulls. Volumetric space-time data (70,600 spatial locations) show multiple reconnection sites with time-dependent locations. The concept of a quasi-separatrix layer (QSL), a tool to understand and visualize 3D magnetic field lines reconnection without null points is introduced. Three-dimensional measurements of the QSL derived from magnetic field data are presented. Within the QSL field lines that start close to one another rapidly diverge as they pass through one or more reconnection regions. The motion of magnetic field lines are traced as reconnection proceeds and they are observed to slip through the regions of space where the QSL is largest. As the interaction proceeds we double the current in the ropes. This accompanied by intense heating as observed in uv light and plasma flows measured by Mach probes. The interaction of the ropes is clearly seen by vislaulizng magnetic field data , as well as in images from a fast framing camera. Work supported by the Dept. of Energy and The National Science Foundation, done at the Basic Plasma Science Facility at UCLA.Magnetic Field lines (measured) of three flux ropes and the plasma currents associated with them

  5. Formation of current sheets in magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Boozer, Allen H.

    2014-07-15

    An ideal evolution of magnetic fields in three spatial dimensions tends to cause neighboring field lines to increase their separation exponentially with distance ℓ along the lines, δ(ℓ)=δ(0)e{sup σ(ℓ)}. The non-ideal effects required to break magnetic field line connections scale as e{sup −σ}, so the breaking of connections is inevitable for σ sufficiently large—even though the current density need nowhere be large. When the changes in field line connections occur rapidly compared to an Alfvén transit time, the constancy of j{sub ||}/B along the magnetic field required for a force-free equilibrium is broken in the region where the change occurs, and an Alfvénic relaxation of j{sub ||}/B occurs. Independent of the original spatial distribution of j{sub ||}/B, the evolution is into a sheet current, which is stretched by a factor e{sup σ} in width and contracted by a factor e{sup σ} in thickness with the current density j{sub ||} increasing as e{sup σ}. The dissipation of these sheet currents and their associated vorticity sheets appears to be the mechanism for transferring energy from a reconnecting magnetic field to a plasma. Harris sheets, which are used in models of magnetic reconnection, are shown to break up in the direction of current flow when they have a finite width and are in a plasma in force equilibrium. The dependence of the longterm nature of magnetic reconnection in systems driven by footpoint motion can be studied in a model that allows qualitative variation in the nature of that motion: slow or fast motion compared to the Alfvén transit time and the neighboring footpoints either exponentially separating in time or not.

  6. Energetics of the magnetic reconnection in laboratory and space plasmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamada, Masaaki

    2014-10-01

    The essential feature of magnetic reconnection is that it energizes plasma particles by converting magnetic energy to particle energy. This talk addresses this key unresolved question; how is magnetic energy converted to plasma kinetic energy during reconnection? Our recent study on MRX demonstrates that more than half of the incoming magnetic energy is converted to particle energy at a remarkably fast speed (~ 0.2VA) in the reconnection layer. A question arises as to whether the present results should be applied to magnetic reconnection phenomena in the space astrophysical plasmas. In a reconnection region of effectively similar size in the Earth's magnetotail, the energy partition was carefully measured during multiple passages of the Cluster satellites. The half length of the tail reconnection layer (L) was estimated to be 2000-4000 km namely 3-6 di, (ion skin depth); the scale length of this measurement is very similar to the MRX case, L ~ 3di. Reconnection in the magneto-tail is driven by an external force, i.e., the solar wind, and the boundary conditions are very similar to the MRX setup. The observed energy partition is notably similar, namely, more than 50% of the magnetic energy flux is converted to the particle energy flux, which is dominated by the ion enthalpy flux, with smaller contributions from the electron enthalpy and heat flux. A broad implication will be discussed. Supported by DoE, NASA, NSF.

  7. Magnetic reconnection in a compressible MHD plasma

    SciTech Connect

    Hesse, Michael; Zenitani, Seiji; Birn, Joachim

    2011-04-15

    Using steady-state resistive MHD, magnetic reconnection is reinvestigated for conditions of high resistivity/low magnetic Reynolds number, when the thickness of the diffusion region is no longer small compared to its length. Implicit expressions for the reconnection rate and other reconnection parameters are derived based on the requirements of mass, momentum, and energy conservation. These expressions are solved via simple iterative procedures. Implications specifically for low Reynolds number/high resistivity are being discussed.

  8. The Onset of Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Daldorff, Lars K. S.; Klimchuk, James A.; van der Holst, Bart

    2015-04-01

    A fundamental question concerning magnetic energy release on the Sun is why the release occurs only after substantial stresses have been built up in the field. If reconnection were to occur readily, the released energy would be insufficient to explain coronal heating, CMEs, flares, jets, spicules, etc. How can we explain this switch-on property? What is the physical nature of the onset conditions? One idea involves the "secondary instability" of current sheets, which switches on when the rotation of the magnetic field across a current sheet reaches a critical angle. Such conditions would occur at the boundaries of flux tubes that become tangled and twisted by turbulent photospheric convection, for example. Other ideas involve a critical thickness for the current sheet. We report here on the preliminary results of our investigation of reconnect onset. Unlike our earlier work on the secondary instability (Dahlburg, Klimchuk, and Antiochos 2005), we treat the coupled chromosphere-corona system. Using the BATS-R-US MHD code, we simulate a single current sheet in a sheared magnetic field that extends from the chromosphere into the corona. Driver motions are applied at the base of the model. The configuration and chromosphere are both idealized, but capture the essential physics of the problem. The advantage of this unique approach is that it resolves the current sheet to the greatest extent possible while maintaining a realistic solar atmosphere. It thus bridges the gap between "reconnection in a box" studies and studies of large-scale systems such as active regions. One question we will address is whether onset conditions are met first in the chromosphere or corona. We will report on the work done on the project.

  9. Frontiers for Laboratory Research of Magnetic Reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Ji, Hantao; Guo, Fan

    2015-07-16

    Magnetic reconnection occcurs throughout heliophysical and astrophysical plasmas as well as in laboratory fusion plasmas. Two broad categories of reconnection models exist: collisional MHD and collisionless kinetic. Eight major questions with respect to magnetic connection are set down, and past and future devices for studying them in the laboratory are described. Results of some computerized simulations are compared with experiments.

  10. Magnetic reconnection in solar flares

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Forbes, T. G.

    1991-01-01

    The magnetic energy stored in the corona is the only plausible source for the energy released during large solar flares. During the last 20 years most theoretical work has concentrated on models which store magnetic energy in the corona in the form of electrical currents, and a major goal of present day research is to understand how these currents are created, and then later dissipated during a flare. Another important goal is to find a flare model which can eject magnetic flux into interplanetary space. Although many flares do not eject magnetic flux, those which do are of special importance for solar-terrestrial relations since the ejected flux can have dramatic effects if it hits the Earth's magnetosphere. Three flare models which have been extensively investigated are the emerging-flux model, the sheared-arcade model, and the magnetic-flux-rope model. All of these models can store and release magnetic energy efficiently provided that rapid magnetic reconnection occurs. However, only the magnetic-flux-rope model appears to provide a plausible mechanism for ejecting magnetic flux into interplanetary space.

  11. Understanding Magnetic Reconnection: The Physical Mechanism Driving Space Weather

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Black, Carrie; Antiochos, Spiro K.; Karpen, Judith T.; Germaschewski, Kai; Bessho, Naoki

    2015-04-01

    The explosive energy release in solar eruptive events is believed to be due to magnetic reconnection. In the standard model for coronal mass ejections (CME) and/or solar flares, the free energy for the event resides in the strongly sheared magnetic field of a filament channel. The pre-eruption force balance consists of an upward force due to the magnetic pressure of the sheared field countered by the downward tension of the overlying unsheared field. Magnetic reconnection disrupts this force balance. Therefore, to understand CME/flare initiation, it is critical to model the onset of reconnection driven by the build-up of magnetic shear. In MHD simulations, the application of a magnetic-field shear is trivial. However, kinetic effects are important in the diffusion region and thus, it is important to examine this process with PIC simulations as well. The implementation of such a driver in PIC methods is nontrivial, however, and indicates the necessity of a true multiscale model for such processes in the solar environment. The field must be sheared self-consistently and indirectly to prevent the generation of waves that destroy the desired system. In the work presented here, we show reconnection in an X-Point geometry due to a velocity shear driver perpendicular to the plane of reconnection.This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award No. AGS-1331356 and NASA's Living With a Star Targeted Research and Technology program.

  12. Definitions of Reconnection Revisited: Distinction Between Magnetic Reconnection and Plasma Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vasyliunas, V. M.

    2015-12-01

    The term "magnetic reconnection" has been used with several different meanings, and sometimes (particularly in discussions of observations) it is not clear which one of them (if any) is meant. Most common is a more or less literal definition of "cutting" and "reconnecting" two magnetic field lines (often illustrated by a sketch of field lines in two dimensions, or a perspective drawing of isolated spaghetti-like flux tubes); this concept can be formulated more precisely in terms of plasma flow across (or, equivalently, electric field in) a bounding surface (separatrix) between topologically distinct magnetic fields. The so-called "generalized reconnection" invokes only deviations from ideal MHD in a localized region; a more precise formulation is by integrals of the electric field along magnetic field lines. These two definitions can be related to two different physical processes, which I call magnetic reconnection and plasma reconnection, respectively. Magnetic reconnection involves field lines that change from one topological class to another (e.g., between open and closed). Its occurrence, requiring the presence of singular magnetic null points, can be identified (at least in principle, conceptually) from the magnetic field alone. When representing magnetic reconnection graphically, it is important to show all the singular points explicitly and to keep in mind that field lines are a continuum: between any two field lines, there is always another field line (even arbitrarily close to the singular points). Plasma reconnection involves plasma flow in which plasma elements initially located on a single field line do not remain on a field line, and this may occur without any changes in the topology or other properties of the magnetic field. To understand either one, the process must be visualized always in three dimensions and without special symmetries. Prototype of magnetic reconnection is the well-known open-magnetosphere model of Dungey (1961). Prototype of

  13. Fast magnetic reconnection with plasmoid / current sheet ejection events in laboratory experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Inomoto, Michiaki; Ono, Yasushi; Hayashi, Yoshinori

    2012-07-01

    Non-steady and fast magnetic reconnections due to plasmoid or current sheet ejection events have been investigated in laboratory experiments using TS-3, TS-4 and UTST plasma merging devices in the University of Tokyo. In these devices, magnetic reconnection is induced by two different schemes, a) push reconnection driven by flux injection from the upstream region, b) pull reconnection driven by flux extraction to the downstream region. Current sheet or plasmoid ejection events are observed in these reconnection experiments particularly with strong guide magnetic field parallel to the reconnection electric field. In push reconnection experiments, anomalous resistivity is induced by the ion's kinetic effect (meandering motion) when the current sheet width is compressed shorter than the ion gyroradius by the strongly injected inflow flux. This fast reconnection regime does not involve plasmoid / current sheet ejection events. On the other hand, the guide field reduces the ion gyroradius and suppresses the onset of the anomalous resistivity, providing slow and steady magnetic reconnection. Impulsive fast reconnection with strong guide field develops, nevertheless, due to plasmoid / current sheet ejection events in pull and push reconnection experiments with extremely large external driving forces. In such a situation, the inflow flux is forcedly pushed into the reconnection region even faster than the maximal reconnection rate, resulting in flux pile up in front of the diffusion region. This piled flux induces large current density inside the current sheet in which plasmoid structure with closed flux surface is formed in pull reconnection case. The induced large current density or plasmoid is then ejected from the diffusion region with significant increase of reconnection electric field. As a result, magnetic reconnection condition with even larger reconnection rate than that obtained by anomalous resistivity was achieved under strong guide field and large external

  14. On phase diagrams of magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Cassak, P. A.; Drake, J. F.

    2013-06-15

    Recently, “phase diagrams” of magnetic reconnection were developed to graphically organize the present knowledge of what type, or phase, of reconnection is dominant in systems with given characteristic plasma parameters. Here, a number of considerations that require caution in using the diagrams are pointed out. First, two known properties of reconnection are omitted from the diagrams: the history dependence of reconnection and the absence of reconnection for small Lundquist number. Second, the phase diagrams mask a number of features. For one, the predicted transition to Hall reconnection should be thought of as an upper bound on the Lundquist number, and it may happen for considerably smaller values. Second, reconnection is never “slow,” it is always “fast” in the sense that the normalized reconnection rate is always at least 0.01. This has important implications for reconnection onset models. Finally, the definition of the relevant Lundquist number is nuanced and may differ greatly from the value based on characteristic scales. These considerations are important for applications of the phase diagrams. This is demonstrated by example for solar flares, where it is argued that it is unlikely that collisional reconnection can occur in the corona.

  15. Magnetic reconnection physics in the solar wind with Voyager 2

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stevens, Michael L.

    2009-08-01

    Magnetic reconnection is the process by which the magnetic topology evolves in collisionless plasmas. This phenomenon is fundamental to a broad range of astrophysical processes such as stellar flares, magnetospheric substorms, and plasma accretion, yet it is poorly understood and difficult to observe in situ . In this thesis, the solar wind plasma permeating interplanetary space is treated as a laboratory for reconnection physics. I present an exhaustive statistical approach to the identification of reconnection outflow jets in turbulent plasma and magnetic field time series data. This approach has been automated and characterized so that the resulting reconnection survey can be put in context with other related studies. The algorithm is shown to perform similarly to ad hoc studies in the inner heliosphere. Based on this technique, I present a survey of 138 outflow jets for the Voyager 2 spacecraft mission, including the most distant in situ evidence of reconnection discovered to date. Reconnection in the solar wind is shown to be strongly correlated with stream interactions and with solar activity. The solar wind magnetic field is found to be reconnecting via large, quasi-steady slow- mode magnetohydrodynamic structures as far out as the orbit of Neptune. The role of slow-mode shocks is explored and, in one instance, a well-developed reconnection structure is shown to be in good agreement with the Petschek theory for fast reconnection. This is the first reported example of a reconnection exhaust that satisfies the full jump conditions for a stationary slow-mode shock pair. A complete investigation into corotating stream interactions over the Voyager 2 mission has revealed that detectable reconnection structure occurs in about 23% of forced, global-scale current sheets. Contrary to previous studies, I find that signatures of this kind are most likely to be observed for current sheets where the magnetic field shear and the plasma-b are high. Evidence has been found

  16. Magnetic reconnection in collisionless plasmas - Prescribed fields

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burkhart, G. R.; Drake, J. F.; Chen, J.

    1990-01-01

    The structure of the dissipation region during magnetic reconnection in collisionless plasma is investigated by examining a prescribed two-dimensional magnetic x line configuration with an imposed inductive electric field E(y). The calculations represent an extension of recent MHD simulations of steady state reconnection (Biskamp, 1986; Lee and Fu, 1986) to the collisionless kinetic regime. It is shown that the structure of the x line reconnection configuration depends on only two parameters: a normalized inductive field and a parameter R which represents the opening angle of the magnetic x lines.

  17. Recent advances in collisionless magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porcelli, F.; Borgogno, D.; Califano, F.; Grasso, D.; Ottaviani, M.; Pegoraro, F.

    2002-12-01

    One of the recurring problems in magnetic reconnection is the identification of the appropriate generalized Ohm's law. In weakly collisional plasmas with a strong magnetic guide field component, a fluid model may be adopted, where electron inertia and the electron pressure gradient play important roles. In the absence of collisions, electron inertia provides the mechanism for magnetic field-line breaking. Electron compressibility alters significantly the structure of the reconnection region and allows for faster reconnection rates, which are consistent with the fast relaxation times of sawtooth oscillations in tokamak plasmas. The Hall term may also become important when the guide field is weak. The very possibility of nonlinear, irreversible magnetic reconnection in the absence of dissipation is addressed. We show that in a collisionless plasma, magnetic islands can grow and reach a saturated state in a coarse-grained sense. Magnetic energy is transferred to kinetic energy in smaller and smaller spatial scale lengths through a phase mixing process. The same model is then applied to the interpretation of driven reconnection events in the vicinity of a magnetic X-line observed in the VTF experiment at MIT. The reconnection is driven by externally induced plasma flows in a background magnetic configuration that has a hyperbolic null in the reconnection plane and a magnetic guide field component perpendicular to that plane. In the limit where the guide field is strong, assuming the external drive to be sufficiently weak for a linear approximation to hold, a dynamic evolution of the system is obtained which does not reach a stationary state. The reconnection process develops in two phases: an initial phase, whose characteristic rate is a fraction of the Alfvén frequency, and a later one, whose rate is determined by the electron collision frequency.

  18. Steady magnetic reconnection in three dimensions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Priest, E. R.; Forbes, T. G.

    1989-01-01

    The concept of magnetic reconnection, defined to occur when there is an electric field parallel to field lines which are potential reconnection locations and near which the field has an X-type topology in a plane normal to the field line, has been generalized to three-dimensional configurations. A continuum of neighboring potential singular lines is found to exist, one of which supports reconnection, depending upon the imposed flow or electric field. For the case of steady reconnection, the nearby flow and electric field are shown to be severely constrained in the ideal region by the condition that the electric field = 0 there. It is noted that reconnection may occur at singularities of the electric field where this constraint fails and there is singular plasma jetting.

  19. Continuous magnetic reconnection at Earth's magnetopause.

    PubMed

    Frey, H U; Phan, T D; Fuselier, S A; Mende, S B

    2003-12-01

    The most important process that allows solar-wind plasma to cross the magnetopause and enter Earth's magnetosphere is the merging between solar-wind and terrestrial magnetic fields of opposite sense-magnetic reconnection. It is at present not known whether reconnection can happen in a continuous fashion or whether it is always intermittent. Solar flares and magnetospheric substorms--two phenomena believed to be initiated by reconnection--are highly burst-like occurrences, raising the possibility that the reconnection process is intrinsically intermittent, storing and releasing magnetic energy in an explosive and uncontrolled manner. Here we show that reconnection at Earth's high-latitude magnetopause is driven directly by the solar wind, and can be continuous and even quasi-steady over an extended period of time. The dayside proton auroral spot in the ionosphere--the remote signature of high-latitude magnetopause reconnection--is present continuously for many hours. We infer that reconnection is not intrinsically intermittent; its steadiness depends on the way that the process is driven. PMID:14654835

  20. Relating magnetic reconnection to coronal heating

    PubMed Central

    Longcope, D. W.; Tarr, L. A.

    2015-01-01

    It is clear that the solar corona is being heated and that coronal magnetic fields undergo reconnection all the time. Here we attempt to show that these two facts are related—i.e. coronal reconnection generates heat. This attempt must address the fact that topological change of field lines does not automatically generate heat. We present one case of flux emergence where we have measured the rate of coronal magnetic reconnection and the rate of energy dissipation in the corona. The ratio of these two, , is a current comparable to the amount of current expected to flow along the boundary separating the emerged flux from the pre-existing flux overlying it. We can generalize this relation to the overall corona in quiet Sun or in active regions. Doing so yields estimates for the contribution to coronal heating from magnetic reconnection. These estimated rates are comparable to the amount required to maintain the corona at its observed temperature. PMID:25897089

  1. Properties of GRB Lightcurves from Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beniamini, Paz; Granot, Jonathan

    2016-04-01

    The energy dissipation mechanism within Gamma-Ray Burst (GRB) outflows, driving their extremely luminous prompt γ-ray emission is still uncertain. The leading candidates are internal shocks and magnetic reconnection. While the emission from internal shocks has been extensively studied, that from reconnection still has few quantitative predictions. We study the expected prompt-GRB emission from magnetic reconnection and compare its temporal and spectral properties to observations. The main difference from internal shocks is that for reconnection one expects relativistic bulk motions with Lorentz factors Γ' ≳ a few in the jet's bulk frame. We consider such motions of the emitting material in two anti-parallel directions (e.g. of the reconnecting magnetic-field lines) within an ultra-relativistic (with Γ ≫ 1) thin spherical reconnection layer. The emission's relativistic beaming in the jet's frame greatly affects the light-curves. For emission at radii R0 < R < R0 + ΔR (with Γ = const) the observed pulse width is ΔT ˜ (R0/2cΓ2) max (1/Γ', ΔR/R0), i.e. up to ˜Γ' times shorter than for isotropic emission in the jet's frame. We consider two possible magnetic reconnection modes: a quasi steady-state with continuous plasma flow into and out of the reconnection layer, and sporadic reconnection in relativistic turbulence that produces relativistic plasmoids. Both of these modes can account for many observed prompt-GRB properties: variability, pulse asymmetry, the very rapid declines at their end and pulse evolutions that are either hard to soft (for Γ' ≲ 2) or intensity tracking (for Γ' > 2). However, only the relativistic turbulence mode can naturally account also for the following correlations: luminosity-variability, peak luminosity - peak frequency and pulse width energy dependence / spectral lags.

  2. Magnetic reconnection in a weakly ionized plasma

    SciTech Connect

    Leake, James E.; Lukin, Vyacheslav S.; Linton, Mark G.

    2013-06-15

    Magnetic reconnection in partially ionized plasmas is a ubiquitous phenomenon spanning the range from laboratory to intergalactic scales, yet it remains poorly understood and relatively little studied. Here, we present results from a self-consistent multi-fluid simulation of magnetic reconnection in a weakly ionized reacting plasma with a particular focus on the parameter regime of the solar chromosphere. The numerical model includes collisional transport, interaction and reactions between the species, and optically thin radiative losses. This model improves upon our previous work in Leake et al.[“Multi-fluid simulations of chromospheric magnetic reconnection in a weakly ionized reacting plasma,” Astrophys. J. 760, 109 (2012)] by considering realistic chromospheric transport coefficients, and by solving a generalized Ohm's law that accounts for finite ion-inertia and electron-neutral drag. We find that during the two dimensional reconnection of a Harris current sheet with an initial width larger than the neutral-ion collisional coupling scale, the current sheet thins until its width becomes less than this coupling scale, and the neutral and ion fluids decouple upstream from the reconnection site. During this process of decoupling, we observe reconnection faster than the single-fluid Sweet-Parker prediction, with recombination and plasma outflow both playing a role in determining the reconnection rate. As the current sheet thins further and elongates, it becomes unstable to the secondary tearing instability, and plasmoids are seen. The reconnection rate, outflows, and plasmoids observed in this simulation provide evidence that magnetic reconnection in the chromosphere could be responsible for jet-like transient phenomena such as spicules and chromospheric jets.

  3. Magnetic Reconnection in Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fermo, R. L.; Opher, M.; Drake, J. F.

    2014-12-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a ubiquitous phenomenon in many varied space and astrophysical plasmas, and as such plays an important role in the dynamics of interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs). It is widely regarded that reconnection is instrumental in the formation and ejection of the initial CME flux rope, but reconnection also continues to affect the dynamics as it propagates through the interplanetary medium. For example, reconnection on the leading edge of the ICME, by which it interacts with the interplanetary medium, leads to flux erosion. However, recent in situ observations by Gosling et al. found signatures of reconnection exhausts in the interior. In light of this data, we consider the stability properties of systems with this flux rope geometry with regard to their minimum energy Taylor state. Variations from this state will result in the magnetic field relaxing back towards the minimum energy state, subject to the constraints that the toroidal flux and magnetic helicity remain invariant. In reversed field pinches, this relaxation is mediated by reconnection in the interior of the system, as has been shown theoretically and experimentally. By treating the ICME flux rope in a similar fashion, we show analytically that the the elongation of the flux tube cross section in the latitudinal direction will result in a departure from the Taylor state. The resulting relaxation of the magnetic field causes reconnection to commence in the interior of the ICME, in agreement with the observations of Gosling et al. We present MHD simulations in which reconnection initiates at a number of rational surfaces, and ultimately produces a stochastic magnetic field. If the time scales for this process are shorter than the propagation time to 1 AU, this result explains why many ICME flux ropes no longer exhibit the smooth, helical flux structure characteristic of a magnetic cloud.

  4. Intuitive approach to magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Kulsrud, Russell M.

    2011-11-15

    Two reconnection problems are considered. The first problem concerns global physics. The plasma in the global reconnection region is in magnetostatic equilibrium. It is shown that this equilibrium can be uniquely characterized by a set of constraints. During reconnection and independently of the local reconnection physics, these constraints can be uniquely evolved from any initial state. The second problem concerns Petschek reconnection. Petschek's model for fast reconnection, which is governed by resistive MHD equations with constant resistivity is not validated by numerical simulations. Malyshkin et al.[Phys. Plasmas 12, 102920 (2005)], showed that the reason for the discrepancy is that Petschek did not employ Ohm's law throughout the local diffusion region, but only at the X-point. A derivation of Petschek reconnection, including Ohm's law throughout the entire diffusion region, removes the discrepancy. This derivation is based largely on Petschek's original 1964 calculation [in AAS-NASA Symposium on Solar Flares (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, D.C., 1964), NASA SP50, p. 425]. A useful physical interpretation of the role which Ohm's law plays in the diffusion region is presented.

  5. Evolutions of nonsteady state magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Wan, Weigang; Lapenta, Giovanni

    2008-01-01

    The full evolutions of collisionless non-steady-state magnetic reconnection are studied with full kinetic particle-in-cell simulations. There are different stages of reconnection: the onset or early growing stage when the out-of-plane electric field (Ey) structure is a monopole at the X-point, the bipolar stage when the Ey structure is bipolar and the outer electron diffusion region (EDR) is being elongated over time, and the possible final steady-state stage when E{sub y} is uniform in the reconnection plane. We find the change of reconnection rate is not empowered or dependent on the length of the EDR. During the early growing stage, the EDR is elongated while the reconnection rate is growing. During the later stage, the reconnection rate may significantly decrease but the length of the inner EDR is largely stable. The results indicate that reconnection is not controlled by the downstream physics, but rather by the availability of plasma inflows from upstream. The physical mechanism of the EDR elongation is studied. The Hall current induced by the quadrupole magnetic field (B{sub y}) is discovered to play an important role in this process. The condition of forming an extended electron super-Alfvenic outflow jet structure in nature is discussed. The jet structure could be elongated during the bipolar stage, and remains stable during steady state. The sufficiency of the electron inflow is crucial for the elongation. Open boundary conditions are applied in the outflow direction.

  6. Magnetic reconnection and solar flare loops

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Forbes, T. G.

    1987-01-01

    Reconnection models of the main phase of large solar flares are used to explain the energetics and the motions of the large flare loops that occur during this phase. Correct predictions for the density and temperature of the X-ray emitting loops are obtained by coupling magnetic reconnection with chromospheric ablation. In the reconnection models the ablation is driven by the thermal conduction of heat along magnetic field lines connecting the reconnection shocks in the corona with the flare ribbons in the chromosphere. Combining the compressible reconnection theory of Soward and Priest (1982) with the magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) subshock criteria of Coroniti (1970) shows that the Petschek-type slow-mode shocks in the vicinity of the x-line always dissociate into pairs of isothermal slow-mode subshocks and thermal conduction fronts. The rate of expansion of the loops is a function of the reconnection rate, and loops can be evolving self-similarly in time with their height increasing as sq root t and the reconnection rate decreasing as t to the minus 1.

  7. New Expression for Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection Rate

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Klimas, Alexander J.

    2014-01-01

    For 2D, symmetric, anti-parallel, collisionless magnetic reconnection, a new expression for the reconnection rate in the electron diffusion region is introduced. It is shown that this expression can be derived in just a few simple steps from a physically intuitive starting point; the derivation is given in its entirety and the validity of each step is confirmed. The predictions of this expression are compared to the results of several long-duration, open-boundary PIC reconnection simulations to demonstrate excellent agreement.

  8. New expression for collisionless magnetic reconnection rate

    SciTech Connect

    Klimas, Alex

    2015-04-15

    For 2D, symmetric, anti-parallel, collisionless magnetic reconnection, new expressions for the reconnection rate in the electron diffusion region are introduced. It is shown that these expressions can be derived in just a few simple steps from a physically intuitive starting point; the derivations are given in their entirety, and the validity of each step is confirmed. The predictions of these expressions are compared to the results of several long-duration, open-boundary particle-in-cell reconnection simulations to demonstrate excellent agreement.

  9. Fast Reconnection of Weak Magnetic Fields

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zweibel, Ellen G.

    1998-01-01

    Fast magnetic reconnection refers to annihilation or topological rearrangement of magnetic fields on a timescale that is independent (or nearly independent) of the plasma resistivity. The resistivity of astrophysical plasmas is so low that reconnection is of little practical interest unless it is fast. Yet, the theory of fast magnetic reconnection is on uncertain ground, as models must avoid the tendency of magnetic fields to pile up at the reconnection layer, slowing down the flow. In this paper it is shown that these problems can be avoided to some extent if the flow is three dimensional. On the other hand, it is shown that in the limited but important case of incompressible stagnation point flows, every flow will amplify most magnetic fields. Although examples of fast magnetic reconnection abound, a weak, disordered magnetic field embedded in stagnation point flow will in general be amplified, and should eventually modify the flow. These results support recent arguments against the operation of turbulent resistivity in highly conducting fluids.

  10. Resistive Magnetohydrodynamic Simulations of Relativistic Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zenitani, Seiji; Hesse, Michael; Klimas, Alex

    2010-01-01

    Resistive relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (RRMHD) simulations are applied to investigate the system evolution of relativistic magnetic reconnection. A time-split Harten-Lan-van Leer method is employed. Under a localized resistivity, the system exhibits a fast reconnection jet with an Alfv enic Lorentz factor inside a narrow Petschek-type exhaust. Various shock structures are resolved in and around the plasmoid such as the post-plasmoid vertical shocks and the "diamond-chain" structure due to multiple shock reflections. Under a uniform resistivity, Sweet-Parker-type reconnection slowly evolves. Under a current-dependent resistivity, plasmoids are repeatedly formed in an elongated current sheet. It is concluded that the resistivity model is of critical importance for RRMHD modeling of relativistic magnetic reconnection.

  11. Magnetic Reconnection Models of Prominence Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Welsch, B. T.; DeVore, C. R.; Antiochos, S. K.

    2005-12-01

    To investigate the hypothesis that prominences form by magnetic reconnection between initially distinct flux systems in the solar corona, we simulate coronal magnetic field evolution when two flux systems are driven together by boundary motions. In particular, we focus on configurations similar to those in the quiescent prominence formation model of Martens & Zwaan. We find that reconnection proceeds very weakly, if at all, in configurations driven with global shear flows (i.e., differential rotation); reconnection proceeds much more efficiently in similar configurations that are driven to collide directly, with converging motions along the neutral line that lead to flux cancellation; reconnected fields from this process can exhibit sheared, dipped field lines along the neutral line, consistent with prominence observations. Our field configurations do not possess the ``breakout'' topology, and eruptions are not observed, even though a substantial amount of flux is canceled in some runs.

  12. Explosive Turbulent Magnetic Reconnection: A New Approach of MHD-Turbulent Simulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoshino, Masahiro; Yokoi, Nobumitsu; Higashimori, Katsuaki

    2013-04-01

    Turbulent flows are often observed in association with magnetic reconnection in space and astrophysical plasmas, and it is often hypothesized that the turbulence can contribute to the fast magnetic reconnection through the enhancement of magnetic dissipation. In this presentation, we demonstrate that an explosive turbulent reconnection can happen by using a new turbulent MHD simulation, in which the evolution of the turbulent transport coefficients are self-consistently solved together with the standard MHD equations. In our model, the turbulent electromotive force defined by the correlation of turbulent fluctuations between v and B is added to the Ohm's law. We discuss that the level of turbulent can control the topology of reconnection, namely the transition from the Sweet-Parker reconnection to the Petscheck reconnection occurs when the level of fluctuations becomes of order of the ambient physical quantities, and show that the growth of the turbulent Petscheck reconnection becomes much faster than the conventional one.

  13. The Diffusion Region in Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hesse, Michael; Neukirch, Thomas; Schindler, Karl; Kuznetsova, Masha; Zenitani, Seiji

    2011-01-01

    A review of present understanding of the dissipation region in magnetic reconnection is presented. The review focuses on results of the thermal inertia-based dissipation mechanism but alternative mechanisms are mentioned as well. For the former process, a combination of analytical theory and numerical modeling is presented. Furthermore, a new relation between the electric field expressions for anti-parallel and guide field reconnection is developed.

  14. Turbulent magnetic fluctuations in laboratory reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Von Stechow, Adrian; Grulke, Olaf; Klinger, Thomas

    2016-07-01

    The role of fluctuations and turbulence is an important question in astrophysics. While direct observations in space are rare and difficult dedicated laboratory experiments provide a versatile environment for the investigation of magnetic reconnection due to their good diagnostic access and wide range of accessible plasma parameters. As such, they also provide an ideal chance for the validation of space plasma reconnection theories and numerical simulation results. In particular, we studied magnetic fluctuations within reconnecting current sheets for various reconnection parameters such as the reconnection rate, guide field, as well as plasma density and temperature. These fluctuations have been previously interpreted as signatures of current sheet plasma instabilities in space and laboratory systems. Especially in low collisionality plasmas these may provide a source of anomalous resistivity and thereby contribute a significant fraction of the reconnection rate. We present fluctuation measurements from two complementary reconnection experiments and compare them to numerical simulation results. VINETA.II (Greifswald, Germany) is a cylindrical, high guide field reconnection experiment with an open field line geometry. The reconnecting current sheet has a three-dimensional structure that is predominantly set by the magnetic pitch angle which results from the superposition of the guide field and the in-plane reconnecting field. Within this current sheet, high frequency magnetic fluctuations are observed that correlate well with the local current density and show a power law spectrum with a spectral break at the lower hybrid frequency. Their correlation lengths are found to be extremely short, but propagation is nonetheless observed with high phase velocities that match the Whistler dispersion. To date, the experiment has been run with an external driving field at frequencies higher than the ion cyclotron frequency f_{ci}, which implies that the EMHD framework applies

  15. Observations and models of magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barta, Miroslav

    2015-08-01

    Magnetic reconnection is now almost unanimously considered to be a key plasma process for energy release in solar and stellar flares. Recent decade have seen rapid development in the theory, simulations and searching for observational evidences of magnetic reconnection being in action in the core of flares. Modern modeling approach involves many realistic aspects of magnetic reconnection such as intrinsically 3D nature of the process and, namely, its highly dynamic character connected with violent formation of plasmoids at many scales. The cascade of plasmoid formation represents natural process of fast, turbulent energy transfer to the kinetic dissipation scale. This concept, revealed by numerical simulations, has found its ground in the theory of (ideal) plasmoid instability in current layers with high aspect ratio. The plasmoid dominated reconnection regime is capable to account for many puzzling dilemmas in the flare physics ranging from the observation-demanded energy release rate vs. standard reconnection-regime timescales, observed organized large-scale structures vs. signatures of fragmented energy release etc. The talk aims at reviewing recent theoretical and simulation development in this direction and observational support for the concept of plasmoid-driven reconnection cascade namely in solar flares.

  16. Entropy conservation in simulations of magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Birn, J.; Hesse, M.; Schindler, K.

    2006-09-15

    Entropy and mass conservation are investigated for the dynamic field evolution associated with fast magnetic reconnection, based on the 'Newton Challenge' problem [Birn et al., Geophys. Res. Lett. 32, L06105 (2005)]. In this problem, the formation of a thin current sheet and magnetic reconnection are initiated in a plane Harris-type current sheet by temporally limited, spatially varying, inflow of magnetic flux. Using resistive magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) and particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations, specifically the entropy and mass integrated along the magnetic flux tubes are compared between the simulations. In the MHD simulation these should be exactly conserved quantities, when slippage and Ohmic dissipation are negligible. It is shown that there is very good agreement between the conservation of these quantities in the two simulation approaches, despite the effects of dissipation, provided that the resistivity in the MHD simulation is strongly localized. This demonstrates that dissipation is highly localized in the PIC simulation also, and that heat flux across magnetic flux tubes has negligible effect as well, so that the entropy increase on a full flux tube remains small even during reconnection. The mass conservation also implies that the frozen-in flux condition of ideal MHD is a good integral approximation outside the reconnection site. This result lends support for using the entropy-conserving MHD approach not only before and after reconnection but even as a constraint connecting the two phases.

  17. Magnetic Reconnection in the MST Reversed Field Pinch

    SciTech Connect

    Crocker, N.E.

    2001-06-01

    width expected form the electron pressure gradient effect. It is significantly smaller than the width expected from the ion inertia, but this width is not expected to be relevant to a strongly magnetized plasma such as an RFP. Notably it is comparable to the width of the magnetic island produced by the associated tearing mode. This is consistent with expectation for saturated or fully developed resistive tearing modes such as MST is believed to exhibit. It is also consistent with the broadening of a smaller width current sheet through current transport due to parallel streaming of charge carriers (along the field lines of the associated island). Third we obtain estimates of the radial charge transport or radial current density due to streaming charge of carriers along magnetic field lines that results from reconnection in the edge of MST. We find that in contradiction with the theoretical expectation for isolated tearing modes it is non-vanishing and in fact large enough to imply both the existence of another charge transport mechanism to maintain charge neutrality and a significant difference in the radial ion and electron particle fluxes due to parallel streaming of particles. Fourth we interpret the flux surface average of j and b as a J x B force density on the plasma. We observe in agreement with theory and observation for interacting tearing modes in an RFP that the radial structure of the force density during sawtooth crashes is such as to flatten the equilibrium radial gradient in toroidal velocity. We observe also that it is sufficiently large as to imply the existence of other force densities on the plasma.

  18. Prospects for Fermi Particle Acceleration at Coronal Magnetic Reconnection Sites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Provornikova, E.; Laming, J. M.; Lukin, V.

    2015-12-01

    The mechanism of first order Fermi acceleration of particles interacting with the converging magnetized flows at a reconnection site was introduced recently in an attempt to predict the energy distribution of particles resulting from violent reconnection in galactic microquasars. More careful consideration of this mechanism showed that the spectral index of accelerated particles is related to the total plasma compression within a reconnection region, similar to that in the formulation for diffusive shock acceleration. In the solar context, reconnection regions producing strong compression could be the source of suprathermal "seed particles". A hard spectrum of such suprathermal particles is believed to be necessary to initiate the particle acceleration process at low Mach number coronal mass ejection shocks close to the Sun where the gradual solar energetic particle events originate. As a first step to investigate the efficiency of Fermi acceleration, we explore the degree of plasma compression that can be achieved at reconnection sites in the solar corona. This work presents a set of 2D two-temperature resistive MHD simulations of the dynamics of several magnetic configurations within a range of lower corona plasma parameters. Energy transport processes in the MHD model include anisotropic thermal conduction for electrons and ions and radiative cooling. Magnetic configurations considered are a Harris current sheet, a force-free current sheet, a flux rope sitting above an arcade of magnetic loops, and two merging flux ropes. We demonstrate that only for some magnetic topologies, corresponding in particular to 3D magnetic nulls, the compression ratio, sufficient for first order Fermi acceleration in the reconnection region, can be achieved. These represent the potential sites in the solar corona where a hard seed particle energetic spectrum could be produced.

  19. Magnetic Reconnection in Extreme Astrophysical Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uzdensky, Dmitri

    Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental plasma physics process of breaking ideal-MHD's frozen-in constraints on magnetic field connectivity and of dramatic rearranging of the magnetic topol-ogy, which often leads to a violent release of the free magnetic energy. Reconnection has long been acknowledged to be of great importance in laboratory plasma physics (magnetic fusion) and in space and solar physics (responsible for solar flares and magnetospheric substorms). In addition, its importance in Astrophysics has been increasingly recognized in recent years. However, due to a great diversity of astrophysical environments, the fundamental physics of astrophysical magnetic reconnection can be quite different from that of the traditional recon-nection encountered in the solar system. In particular, environments like the solar corona and the magnetosphere are characterized by relatively low energy densities, where the plasma is ad-equately described as a mixture of electrons and ions whose numbers are conserved and where the dissipated magnetic energy basically stays with the plasma. In contrast, in many high-energy astrophysical phenomena the energy density is so large that photons play as important a role as electrons and ions and, in particular, radiation pressure and radiative cooling become dominant. In this talk I focus on the most extreme case of high-energy-density astrophysical reconnec-tionreconnection of magnetar-strength (1014 - 1015 Gauss) magnetic fields, important for giant flares in soft-gamma repeaters (SGRs), and for rapid magnetic energy release in either the central engines or in the relativistic jets of Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs). I outline the key relevant physical processes and present a new theoretical picture of magnetic reconnection in these environments. The corresponding magnetic energy density is so enormous that, when suddenly released, it inevitably heats the plasma to relativistic temperatures, resulting in co-pious production of electron

  20. Self-generated Turbulence in Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oishi, Jeffrey S.; Mac Low, Mordecai-Mark; Collins, David C.; Tamura, Moeko

    2015-06-01

    Classical Sweet-Parker models of reconnection predict that reconnection rates depend inversely on the resistivity, usually parameterized using the dimensionless Lundquist number (S). We describe magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations using a static, nested grid that show the development of a three-dimensional (3D) instability in the plane of a current sheet between reversing field lines without a guide field. The instability leads to rapid reconnection of magnetic field lines at a rate independent of S over at least the range 3.2× {{10}3}≲ S≲ 3.2× {{10}5} resolved by the simulations. We find that this instability occurs even for cases with S≲ {{10}4} that in our models appear stable to the recently described, two-dimensional, plasmoid instability. Our results suggest that 3D, MHD processes alone produce fast (resistivity independent) reconnection without recourse to kinetic effects or external turbulence. The unstable reconnection layers provide a self-consistent environment in which the extensively studied turbulent reconnection process can occur.

  1. Magnetic Reconnection Onset and Energy Release at Current Sheets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeVore, C. R.; Antiochos, Spiro K.

    2015-04-01

    Reconnection and energy release at current sheets are important at the Sun (coronal heating, coronal mass ejections, flares, and jets) and at the Earth (magnetopause flux transfer events and magnetotail substorms) and other magnetized planets, and occur also at the interface between the Heliosphere and the interstellar medium, the heliopause. The consequences range from relatively quiescent heating of the ambient plasma to highly explosive releases of energy and accelerated particles. We use the Adaptively Refined Magnetohydrodynamics Solver (ARMS) model to investigate the self-consistent formation and reconnection of current sheets in an initially potential 2D magnetic field containing a magnetic null point. Unequal stresses applied to the four quadrants bounded by the X-line separatrix distort the potential null into a double-Y-type current sheet. We find that this distortion eventually leads to onset of fast magnetic reconnection across the sheet, with copious production, merging, and ejection of magnetic islands due to plasmoid instability. In the absence of a mechanism for ideal instability or loss of equilibrium of the global structure, however, this reconnection leads to minimal energy release. Essentially, the current sheet oscillates about its force-free equilibrium configuration. When the structure is susceptible to a large-scale rearrangement of the magnetic field, on the other hand, the energy release becomes explosive. We identify the conditions required for reconnection to transform rapidly a large fraction of the magnetic free energy into kinetic and other forms of plasma energy, and to restructure the current sheet and its surrounding magnetic field dramatically. We discuss the implications of our results for understanding heliophysical activity, particularly eruptions, flares, and jets in the corona.Our research was supported by NASA’s Heliophysics Supporting Research and Living With a Star Targeted Research and Technology programs.

  2. Microstructure of magnetic reconnection in earth's magnetotail

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bieber, J. W.; Stone, E. C.; Hones, E. W., Jr.; Baker, D. N.; Bame, S. J.; Lepping, R. P.

    1984-01-01

    The structure of heated electron reconnection events associated with magnetic substorm events in the earth's magnetotail is examined using IMP 8 spacecraft and ground-based magnetometer, plasma analyzer and spectroscopic data. Plasma, magnetic field and energetic particle data for five events are presented. Reconnection is shown to occur in two phases: preheating and heating. In preheating, lasting about 5 min, a strong tailward plasma flow appears and ends with electron heating. A 1-2 min heating phase starts with electron heating and ends with plasma sheet drop out and/or decay of the electron temperature to pre-event levels. The heating pulse is always connected with a Bx reversal at 30 earth radii tailward, where the reconnection occurs.

  3. Formation of Plasmoid Chains in Magnetic Reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Samtaney, R.; Loureiro, N. F.; Uzdensky, D. A.; Schekochihin, A. A.; Cowley, S. C.

    2009-09-09

    A detailed numerical study of magnetic reconnection in resistive MHD for very large, previously inaccessible, Lundquist numbers (104 ≤ S ≤ 108) is reported. Large-aspect-ratio Sweet-Parker current sheets are shown to be unstable to super-Alfvenically fast formation of plasmoid (magnetic-island) chains. The plasmoid number scales as S3/8 and the instability growth rate in the linear stage as S1/4, in agreement with the theory by Loureiro et al. [Phys. Plasmas 14, 100703 (2007)]. In the nonlinear regime, plasmoids continue to grow faster than they are ejected and completely disrupt the reconnection layer. These results suggest that high-Lundquist-number reconnection is inherently time-dependent and hence call for a substantial revision of the standard Sweet-Parker quasistationary picture for S>104.

  4. Drift Wave Turbulence and Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Price, L.; Drake, J. F.; Swisdak, M.

    2015-12-01

    An important feature in collisionless magnetic reconnection is the development of sharp discontinuities along the separatrices bounding the Alfvenic outflow. The typical scale length of these features is ρs (the Larmor radius based on the sound speed) for guide field reconnection. Temperature gradients in the inflowing plasma (as might be found in the magnetopause and the magnetotail) can lead to instabilities at these separatrices, specifically drift wave turbulence. We present standalone 2D and 3D PIC simulations of drift wave turbulence to investigate scaling properties and growth rates. We specifically consider stabilization of the lower hybrid drift instability (LHDI) and the development of this instability in the presence of a sheared magnetic field. Further investigations of the relative importance of drift wave turbulence in the development of reconnection will also be considered.

  5. Magnetic Reconnection: Theoretical and Observational Perspectives: Preface

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewis, W. S.; Antiochos, S. K,; Drake, J. F.

    2011-01-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental plasma-physical process by which energy stored in a magnetic field is converted, often explosively, into heat and the kinetic energy of the charged particles that constitute the plasma. It occurs in a variety of astrophysical settings, ranging from the solar corona to pulsar magnetospheres and winds, as well as in laboratory fusion experiments, where it is responsible for sawtooth crashes. First proposed by R.G. Giovanelli in the late I 940s as the mechanism responsible for solar flares, magnetic reconnection was invoked at the beginning of the space age to explain not just solar flares but also the transfer of energy, mass, and momentum from the solar wind to Earth's magnetosphere and the subsequent storage and release of the transferred energy in the magnetotai\\. During the half century or so that has followed the seminal theoretical works by J.W. Dungey, P.A. Sweet, E.N. Parker, and H.E. Petschek, in-situ measurements by Earth-orbiting satellites and remote-sensing observations of the solar corona have provided a growing body of evidence for the occurrence of reconnection at the Sun, in the solar wind, and in the near-Earth space environment. The last thirty years have also seen the development of laboratory reconnection experiments at a number of institutions. In parallel with the efforts of experimentalists in both space and laboratory plasma physics, theorists have investigated, analytically and with the help of increasingly powerful MHD, hybrid, and kinetic numerical simulations, the structure of the diffusion region, the factors controlling the rate, onset, and cessation of reconnection, and the detailed physics that enables the demagnetization of the ions and electrons and the topological reconfiguration of the magnetic field. Moreover, the scope of theoretical reconnection studies has been extended well beyond solar system and laboratory plasmas to include more exotic astrophysical plasma systems whose strong (10

  6. Magnetic reconnection under anisotropic magnetohydrodynamic approximation

    SciTech Connect

    Hirabayashi, K.; Hoshino, M.

    2013-11-15

    We study the formation of slow-mode shocks in collisionless magnetic reconnection by using one- and two-dimensional collisionless MHD codes based on the double adiabatic approximation and the Landau closure model. We bridge the gap between the Petschek-type MHD reconnection model accompanied by a pair of slow shocks and the observational evidence of the rare occasion of in-situ slow shock observations. Our results showed that once magnetic reconnection takes place, a firehose-sense (p{sub ∥}>p{sub ⊥}) pressure anisotropy arises in the downstream region, and the generated slow shocks are quite weak comparing with those in an isotropic MHD. In spite of the weakness of the shocks, however, the resultant reconnection rate is 10%–30% higher than that in an isotropic case. This result implies that the slow shock does not necessarily play an important role in the energy conversion in the reconnection system and is consistent with the satellite observation in the Earth's magnetosphere.

  7. Dissipation mechanism in 3D magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Fujimoto, Keizo

    2011-11-15

    Dissipation processes responsible for fast magnetic reconnection in collisionless plasmas are investigated using 3D electromagnetic particle-in-cell simulations. The present study revisits the two simulation runs performed in the previous study (Fujimoto, Phys. Plasmas 16, 042103 (2009)); one with small system size in the current density direction, and the other with larger system size. In the case with small system size, the reconnection processes are almost the same as those in 2D reconnection, while in the other case a kink mode evolves along the current density and deforms the current sheet structure drastically. Although fast reconnection is achieved in both the cases, the dissipation mechanism is very different between them. In the case without kink mode, the electrons transit the electron diffusion region without thermalization, so that the magnetic dissipation is supported by the inertia resistivity alone. On the other hand, in the kinked current sheet, the electrons are not only accelerated in bulk, but they are also partly scattered and thermalized by the kink mode, which results in the anomalous resistivity in addition to the inertia resistivity. It is demonstrated that in 3D reconnection the thickness of the electron current sheet becomes larger than the local electron inertia length, consistent with the theoretical prediction in Fujimoto and Sydora (Phys. Plasmas 16, 112309 (2009)).

  8. Transition from antiparallel to component magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Swisdak, M.; Drake, J. F.; Shay, M. A.; McIlhargey, J. G.

    2005-05-01

    We study the transition between antiparallel and component collisionless magnetic reconnection with two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. The primary finding is that a guide field ≈0.1 times as strong as the asymptotic reconnecting field (roughly the field strength at which the electron Larmor radius is comparable to the width of the electron current layer) is sufficient to magnetize the electrons in the vicinity of the X line, thus causing significant changes to the structure of the electron dissipation region. This implies that great care should be exercised before concluding that magnetospheric reconnection is antiparallel. We also find that even for such weak guide fields, strong inward flowing electron beams form in the vicinity of the magnetic separatrices and Buneman unstable distribution functions arise at the X line itself. As in the calculations of Hesse et al. (2002) and Yin and Winske (2003) the nongyrotropic elements of the electron pressure tensor play the dominant role in decoupling the electrons from the magnetic field at the X line, regardless of the magnitude of the guide field and the associated strong variations in the pressure tensor's spatial structure. Despite these changes, and consistent with previous work, the reconnection rate does not vary appreciably with the strength of the guide field as it changes between 0 and a value equal to the asymptotic reversed field.

  9. VINETA II: a linear magnetic reconnection experiment.

    PubMed

    Bohlin, H; Von Stechow, A; Rahbarnia, K; Grulke, O; Klinger, T

    2014-02-01

    A linear experiment dedicated to the study of driven magnetic reconnection is presented. The new device (VINETA II) is suitable for investigating both collisional and near collisionless reconnection. Reconnection is achieved by externally driving magnetic field lines towards an X-point, inducing a current in the background plasma which consequently modifies the magnetic field topology. Owing to the open field line configuration of the experiment, the current is limited by the axial sheath boundary conditions. A plasma gun is used as an additional electron source in order to counterbalance the charge separation effects and supply the required current. Two drive methods are used in the device. First, an oscillating current through two parallel conductors drive the reconnection. Second, a stationary X-point topology is formed by the parallel conductors, and the drive is achieved by an oscillating current through a third conductor. In the first setup, the magnetic field of the axial plasma current dominates the field topology near the X-point throughout most of the drive. The second setup allows for the amplitude of the plasma current as well as the motion of the flux to be set independently of the X-point topology of the parallel conductors. PMID:24593355

  10. VINETA II: A linear magnetic reconnection experiment

    SciTech Connect

    Bohlin, H. Von Stechow, A.; Rahbarnia, K.; Grulke, O.; Klinger, T.

    2014-02-15

    A linear experiment dedicated to the study of driven magnetic reconnection is presented. The new device (VINETA II) is suitable for investigating both collisional and near collisionless reconnection. Reconnection is achieved by externally driving magnetic field lines towards an X-point, inducing a current in the background plasma which consequently modifies the magnetic field topology. Owing to the open field line configuration of the experiment, the current is limited by the axial sheath boundary conditions. A plasma gun is used as an additional electron source in order to counterbalance the charge separation effects and supply the required current. Two drive methods are used in the device. First, an oscillating current through two parallel conductors drive the reconnection. Second, a stationary X-point topology is formed by the parallel conductors, and the drive is achieved by an oscillating current through a third conductor. In the first setup, the magnetic field of the axial plasma current dominates the field topology near the X-point throughout most of the drive. The second setup allows for the amplitude of the plasma current as well as the motion of the flux to be set independently of the X-point topology of the parallel conductors.

  11. Dynamical plasma response during driven magnetic reconnection.

    PubMed

    Egedal, J; Fasoli, A; Nazemi, J

    2003-04-01

    Direct measurements of a collisionless current channel during driven magnetic reconnection are obtained for the first time on the Versatile Toroidal Facility. The size of the diffusion region is found to scale with the electron drift orbit width, independent of the ion mass and plasma density. Based on experimental observations, analytic expressions governing the dynamical evolution of the current profile and the formation of the electrostatic potential that develops in response to the externally imposed reconnection drive are established. This time response is closely linked to the presence of ion polarization currents. PMID:12689297

  12. Vortex-induced magnetic reconnection and single X line reconnection at the magnetopause

    SciTech Connect

    Fu, S.Y.; Pu, Z.Y.; Liu, Z.X.

    1995-04-01

    The authors present the results of two-dimensional MHD simulations of two different models of magnetic reconnection, a vortex-induced magnetic reconnection, and a bursty single X line reconnection. They look at the implications of the magnetic topolgy of the magnetopause for the occurrence of conditions conducive to these two processes. They also discuss the physical implications which could be derived from these two models.

  13. Particle Acceleration in 3D Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dahlin, J.; Drake, J. F.; Swisdak, M.

    2015-12-01

    Magnetic reconnection is an important driver of energetic particles in phenomena such as magnetospheric storms and solar flares. Using kinetic particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations, we show that the stochastic magnetic field structure which develops during 3D reconnection plays a vital role in particle acceleration and transport. In a 2D system, electrons are trapped in magnetic islands which limits their energy gain. In a 3D system, however, the stochastic magnetic field enables the energetic electrons to access volume-filling acceleration regions and therefore gain energy much more efficiently than in the 2D system. We also examine the relative roles of two important acceleration drivers: parallel electric fields and a Fermi mechanism associated with reflection of charged particles from contracting field lines. We find that parallel electric fields are most important for accelerating low energy particles, whereas Fermi reflection dominates energetic particle production. We also find that proton energization is reduced in the 3D system.

  14. Relating magnetic reconnection to coronal heating.

    PubMed

    Longcope, D W; Tarr, L A

    2015-05-28

    It is clear that the solar corona is being heated and that coronal magnetic fields undergo reconnection all the time. Here we attempt to show that these two facts are related--i.e. coronal reconnection generates heat. This attempt must address the fact that topological change of field lines does not automatically generate heat. We present one case of flux emergence where we have measured the rate of coronal magnetic reconnection and the rate of energy dissipation in the corona. The ratio of these two, [Formula: see text], is a current comparable to the amount of current expected to flow along the boundary separating the emerged flux from the pre-existing flux overlying it. We can generalize this relation to the overall corona in quiet Sun or in active regions. Doing so yields estimates for the contribution to coronal heating from magnetic reconnection. These estimated rates are comparable to the amount required to maintain the corona at its observed temperature. PMID:25897089

  15. Magnetic reconnection as a chondrule heating mechanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lazerson, Samuel A.

    2010-12-01

    The origin of chondrules (sub-millimeter inclusions found in stony meteorites) remains today an open question despite over century of examination. The age of these proto-solar relics shows a well defined cutoff of around 4.5 billion years ago. This places them as the oldest solids in the solar system. Chemical examination indicates that they experienced heating events on the order of 5000 K/hr for periods of around 30 minutes, followed by extending periods of cooling. Additional examination indicates the presence of large magnetic fields during their formation. Most attempts to explain chondrule formation in the proto-solar nebula neglect the existence of a plasma environment, with even less mention of dust being a charge carrier (dusty plasma). Simulations of magnetic reconnection in a dusty plasma are forwarded as a mechanism for chondrule formation in the proto-solar nebula. Here large dust-neutral relative velocities are found in the reconnection region. These flows are associated with the dynamics of reconnection. The high Knudsen number of the dust particles allows for a direct calculation of frictional heating due to collisions with neutrals (allowing for the neglect of boundary layer formation around the particle). Test particle simulations produce heating equivalent to that recorded in the chondrule mineral record. It is shown that magnetic reconnection in a dusty plasma is of fundamental importance to the formation of the most primitive solids in the solar system.

  16. Magnetic Reconnection in Extreme Astrophysical Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uzdensky, Dmitri A.

    2011-10-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental plasma physics process in which ideal-MHD's frozen-in constraints are broken and the magnetic field topology is dramatically re-arranged, which often leads to a violent release of the free magnetic energy. Most of the magnetic reconnection research done to date has been motivated by the applications to systems such as the solar corona, Earth's magnetosphere, and magnetic confinement devices for thermonuclear fusion. These environments have relatively low energy densities and the plasma is adequately described as a mixture of equal numbers of electrons and ions and where the dissipated magnetic energy always stays with the plasma. In contrast, in this paper I would like to introduce a different, new direction of research—reconnection in high energy density radiative plasmas, in which photons play as important a role as electrons and ions; in particular, in which radiation pressure and radiative cooling become dominant factors in the pressure and energy balance. This research is motivated in part by rapid theoretical and experimental advances in High Energy Density Physics, and in part by several important problems in modern high-energy astrophysics. I first discuss some astrophysical examples of high-energy-density reconnection and then identify the key physical processes that distinguish them from traditional reconnection. Among the most important of these processes are: special-relativistic effects; radiative effects (radiative cooling, radiation pressure, and radiative resistivity); and, at the most extreme end—QED effects, including pair creation. The most notable among the astrophysical applications are situations involving magnetar-strength fields (1014-1015 G, exceeding the quantum critical field B ∗≃4×1013 G). The most important examples are giant flares in soft gamma repeaters (SGRs) and magnetic models of the central engines and relativistic jets of Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs). The magnetic energy density in

  17. Asymmetry Effects in Viscoresistive Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tebaldi, C.; Grasso, D.; Hastie, R. J.

    2010-04-01

    Magnetic reconnection from an asymmetric unreconnected equilibrium is investigated in a viscoresistive plasma via numerical simulations. The instability threshold of the standard stability parameter, Δ', increases with the asymmetry parameter, in a way similar to the effect of increasing viscosity. Also the topology of the velocity field changes significantly, the four-vortex structure typical of the tearing instability evolves into two-vortex structure, with strong increase of the velocity shear across the high magnetic shear rational surface.

  18. Turbulent reconnection of magnetic bipoles in stratified turbulence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jabbari, S.; Brandenburg, A.; Mitra, Dhrubaditya; Kleeorin, N.; Rogachevskii, I.

    2016-04-01

    We consider strongly stratified forced turbulence in a plane-parallel layer with helicity and corresponding large-scale dynamo action in the lower part and non-helical turbulence in the upper. The magnetic field is found to develop strongly concentrated bipolar structures near the surface. They form elongated bands with a sharp interface between opposite polarities. Unlike earlier experiments with imposed magnetic field, the inclusion of rotation does not strongly suppress the formation of these structures. We perform a systematic numerical study of this phenomenon by varying magnetic Reynolds number, scale separation ratio, and Coriolis number. We focus on the formation of a current sheet between bipolar regions where reconnection of oppositely oriented field lines occurs. We determine the reconnection rate by measuring either the inflow velocity in the vicinity of the current sheet or by measuring the electric field in the reconnection region. We demonstrate that for large Lundquist numbers, S > 103, the reconnection rate is nearly independent of S in agreement with results of recent numerical simulations performed by other groups in simpler settings.

  19. Turbulent reconnection of magnetic bipoles in stratified turbulence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jabbari, S.; Brandenburg, A.; Mitra, Dhrubaditya; Kleeorin, N.; Rogachevskii, I.

    2016-07-01

    We consider strongly stratified forced turbulence in a plane-parallel layer with helicity and corresponding large-scale dynamo action in the lower part and non-helical turbulence in the upper. The magnetic field is found to develop strongly concentrated bipolar structures near the surface. They form elongated bands with a sharp interface between opposite polarities. Unlike earlier experiments with imposed magnetic field, the inclusion of rotation does not strongly suppress the formation of these structures. We perform a systematic numerical study of this phenomenon by varying magnetic Reynolds number, scale-separation ratio, and Coriolis number. We focus on the formation of a current sheet between bipolar regions where reconnection of oppositely oriented field lines occurs. We determine the reconnection rate by measuring either the inflow velocity in the vicinity of the current sheet or by measuring the electric field in the reconnection region. We demonstrate that for large Lundquist numbers, S > 103, the reconnection rate is nearly independent of S in agreement with results of recent numerical simulations performed by other groups in simpler settings.

  20. An Electromagnetic Drift Instability in the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX) and its Importance for Magnetic Reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Russell Kulsrud; Hantao Ji; Will Fox; Masaaki Yamada

    2005-06-07

    The role which resistivity plays in breaking magnetic field lines, heating the plasma, and plasma field slippage during magnetic reconnection is discussed. Magnetic fluctuations are observed in the MRX (Magnetic Reconnection Experiment) that are believed to provide resistive friction or wave resistivity. A localized linear theory has been proposed for their origin as an obliquely propagating Lower Hybrid Drift Instability. In this paper, the linear theory of the instability is summarized, and the resulting heating and slippage are calculated from quasi-linear theory. Making use of measured amplitudes of the magnetic fluctuations in the MRX the amount of these effects is estimated. Within the experimental uncertainties they are shown to be quite important for the magnetic reconnection process.

  1. An electromagnetic drift instability in the magnetic reconnection experiment and its importance for magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Kulsrud, Russell; Ji Hantao; Fox, William; Yamada, Masaaki

    2005-08-15

    The role which resistivity plays in breaking magnetic field lines, heating the plasma, and plasma-field slippage during magnetic reconnection is discussed. Magnetic fluctuations are observed in the MRX (magnetic reconnection experiment) [M. Yamada, H. Ji, S. Hsu, T. Carter, R. Kulsrud, N. Bertz, F. Jobes, Y. Ono, and F. Perkins, Phys. Plasmas 4, 1936 (1997)] that are believed to provide resistive friction or wave resistivity. A localized linear theory has been proposed for their origin as an obliquely propagating lower hybrid drift instability. In this paper, the linear theory of the instability is summarized, and the resulting heating and slippage are calculated from quasilinear theory. Making use of measured amplitudes of the magnetic fluctuations in the MRX, the amount of these effects is estimated. Within the experimental uncertainties they are shown to be quite important for the magnetic reconnection process.

  2. Particle acceleration by magnetic reconnection in unstable twisted coronal loop

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gordovskyy, Mykola; Browning, Philippa; Vekstein, Grigory

    Photospheric motions may result in twisting of a coronal loop magnetic field. Such a field configuration contains free energy that may be released by reconnection with the magnetic field relaxing to the linear force-free configuration. Browning & Van der Linden (2003) suggested that such a relaxation event may be triggered by onset of ideal kink instability. In the present work we study the evolution of a twisted magnetic fluxtube with zero net ax-ial current following Browning et al. (2008). Further, proton and electron trajectories are investigated using the test-particle approach consistently with the time-dependent reconnec-tion model. We discuss temporal evolution of proton and electron energy spectra and possible observational implications.

  3. Magnetic reconnection in Saturn's magnetotail: A comprehensive magnetic field survey.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, A. W.; Jackman, C. M.; Thomsen, M. F.; Dougherty, M. K.

    2015-10-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process throughout the solar system, significantly shaping and modulating the magnetospheres of the magnetized planets. Within planetary magnetotails reconnection can be responsible for energizing particles and potentially changing the total flux and mass contained within the magnetosphere. The Kronian magnetosphere is thought to be a middle ground between the rotationally dominated Jovian magnetosphere and the solar wind driven terrestrial magnetosphere. However, previous studies have not been able to find a statistical reconnection x-line, as has been possible at both Jupiter and Earth. Additionally the standard picture of magnetotail reconnection at Saturn, developed by Cowley et al. [2004], suggests a potential asymmetry between the dawn and dusk flanks, caused by different reconnection processes dominating. This work centers on the development of an algorithm designed to find reconnection related events in spacecraft magnetometer data, aiming to reduce the bias that manual searches could inherently introduce, thereby ensuring the validity of any statistical analysis. The algorithm primarily identifies the reconnection related events from deflections in the north-south component of the magnetic field, allowing an almost uninterrupted in-situ search (when the spacecraft is situated within the magnetotail). The new catalogue of candidate reconnection events, produced by the algorithm, enables a more complete statistical view of reconnection in the Kronian magnetotail. Well-studied data encompassing the deep magnetotail and dawn flank (particularly from orbits in 2006) were used to train the algorithm and develop reasonable criteria. The algorithm was then applied to data encompassing the dusk flank (including orbits from 2009, for which plasma data have been examined by Thomsen et al. [2014]). This combination enables a robust, and global, comparison of reconnection rates, signatures and properties in the Kronian magnetotail.

  4. Gyro-induced acceleration of magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Comisso, L.; Grasso, D.; Waelbroeck, F. L.; Borgogno, D.

    2013-09-15

    The linear and nonlinear evolution of magnetic reconnection in collisionless high-temperature plasmas with a strong guide field is analyzed on the basis of a two-dimensional gyrofluid model. The linear growth rate of the reconnecting instability is compared to analytical calculations over the whole spectrum of linearly unstable wave numbers. In the strongly unstable regime (large Δ′), the nonlinear evolution of the reconnecting instability is found to undergo two distinctive acceleration phases separated by a stall phase in which the instantaneous growth rate decreases. The first acceleration phase is caused by the formation of strong electric fields close to the X-point due to ion gyration, while the second acceleration phase is driven by the development of an open Petschek-like configuration due to both ion and electron temperature effects. Furthermore, the maximum instantaneous growth rate is found to increase dramatically over its linear value for decreasing diffusion layers. This is a consequence of the fact that the peak instantaneous growth rate becomes weakly dependent on the microscopic plasma parameters if the diffusion region thickness is sufficiently smaller than the equilibrium magnetic field scale length. When this condition is satisfied, the peak reconnection rate asymptotes to a constant value.

  5. Magnetic Reconnection in Different Environments: Similarities and Differences

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hesse, Michael; Aunai, Nicolas; Kuznetsova, Masha; Zenitani, Seiji; Birn, Joachim

    2014-01-01

    Depending on the specific situation, magnetic reconnection may involve symmetric or asymmetric inflow regions. Asymmetric reconnection applies, for example, to reconnection at the Earth's magnetopause, whereas reconnection in the nightside magnetotail tends to involve more symmetric geometries. A combination of review and new results pertaining to magnetic reconnection is being presented. The focus is on three aspects: A basic, MHD-based, analysis of the role magnetic reconnection plays in the transport of energy, followed by an analysis of a kinetic model of time dependent reconnection in a symmetric current sheet, similar to what is typically being encountered in the magnetotail of the Earth. The third element is a review of recent results pertaining to the orientation of the reconnection line in asymmetric geometries, which are typical for the magnetopause of the Earth, as well as likely to occur at other planets.

  6. Fast magnetic reconnection with large guide fields

    SciTech Connect

    Stanier, A.; Simakov, Andrei N.; Chacón, L.; Daughton, W.

    2015-01-09

    Here, we demonstrate using two-fluid simulations that low-βmagnetic reconnection remains fast, regardless of the presence of fast dispersive waves, which have been previously suggested to play a critical role. In order to understand these results, a discrete model is constructed that offers scaling relationships for the reconnection rate and dissipation region (DR) thickness in terms of the upstream magnetic field and DR length. We verify these scalings numerically and show how the DR self-adjusts to process magnetic flux at the same rate that it is supplied to a larger region where two-fluid effects become important. Ultimately, the rate is independent of the DR physics and is in good agreement with kinetic results.

  7. Fast magnetic reconnection with large guide fields

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Stanier, A.; Simakov, Andrei N.; Chacón, L.; Daughton, W.

    2015-01-09

    Here, we demonstrate using two-fluid simulations that low-βmagnetic reconnection remains fast, regardless of the presence of fast dispersive waves, which have been previously suggested to play a critical role. In order to understand these results, a discrete model is constructed that offers scaling relationships for the reconnection rate and dissipation region (DR) thickness in terms of the upstream magnetic field and DR length. We verify these scalings numerically and show how the DR self-adjusts to process magnetic flux at the same rate that it is supplied to a larger region where two-fluid effects become important. Ultimately, the rate is independentmore » of the DR physics and is in good agreement with kinetic results.« less

  8. Model of magnetic reconnection in space and astrophysical plasmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boozer, Allen H.

    2013-03-01

    Maxwell's equations imply that exponentially smaller non-ideal effects than commonly assumed can give rapid magnetic reconnection in space and astrophysical plasmas. In an ideal evolution, magnetic field lines act as stretchable strings, which can become ever more entangled but cannot be cut. High entanglement makes the lines exponentially sensitive to small non-ideal changes in the magnetic field. The cause is well known in popular culture as the butterfly effect and in the theory of deterministic dynamical systems as a sensitive dependence on initial conditions, but the importance to magnetic reconnection is not generally recognized. Two-coordinate models are too constrained geometrically for the required entanglement, but otherwise the effect is general and can be studied in simple models. A simple model is introduced, which is periodic in the x and y Cartesian coordinates and bounded by perfectly conducting planes in z. Starting from a constant magnetic field in the z direction, reconnection is driven by a spatially smooth, bounded force. The model is complete and could be used to study the impulsive transfer of energy between the magnetic field and the ions and electrons using a kinetic plasma model.

  9. Model of magnetic reconnection in space and astrophysical plasmas

    SciTech Connect

    Boozer, Allen H.

    2013-03-15

    Maxwell's equations imply that exponentially smaller non-ideal effects than commonly assumed can give rapid magnetic reconnection in space and astrophysical plasmas. In an ideal evolution, magnetic field lines act as stretchable strings, which can become ever more entangled but cannot be cut. High entanglement makes the lines exponentially sensitive to small non-ideal changes in the magnetic field. The cause is well known in popular culture as the butterfly effect and in the theory of deterministic dynamical systems as a sensitive dependence on initial conditions, but the importance to magnetic reconnection is not generally recognized. Two-coordinate models are too constrained geometrically for the required entanglement, but otherwise the effect is general and can be studied in simple models. A simple model is introduced, which is periodic in the x and y Cartesian coordinates and bounded by perfectly conducting planes in z. Starting from a constant magnetic field in the z direction, reconnection is driven by a spatially smooth, bounded force. The model is complete and could be used to study the impulsive transfer of energy between the magnetic field and the ions and electrons using a kinetic plasma model.

  10. Diffusion of magnetic field via turbulent reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Santos de Lima, Reinaldo; Lazarian, Alexander; de Gouveia Dal Pino, Elisabete M.; Cho, Jungyeon

    2010-05-01

    The diffusion of astrophysical magnetic fields in conducting fluids in the presence of turbulence depends on whether magnetic fields can change their topology via reconnection in highly conducting media. Recent progress in understanding fast magnetic reconnection in the presence of turbulence is reassuring that the magnetic field behavior in computer simulations and turbulent astrophysical environments is similar, as far as magnetic reconnection is concerned. This makes it meaningful to perform MHD simulations of turbulent flows in order to understand the diffusion of magnetic field in astrophysical environments. Our studies of magnetic field diffusion in turbulent medium reveal interesting new phenomena. First of all, our 3D MHD simulations initiated with anti-correlating magnetic field and gaseous density exhibit at later times a de-correlation of the magnetic field and density, which corresponds well to the observations of the interstellar media. While earlier studies stressed the role of either ambipolar diffusion or time-dependent turbulent fluctuations for de-correlating magnetic field and density, we get the effect of permanent de-correlation with one fluid code, i.e. without invoking ambipolar diffusion. In addition, in the presence of gravity and turbulence, our 3D simulations show the decrease of the magnetic flux-to-mass ratio as the gaseous density at the center of the gravitational potential increases. We observe this effect both in the situations when we start with equilibrium distributions of gas and magnetic field and when we follow the evolution of collapsing dynamically unstable configurations. Thus the process of turbulent magnetic field removal should be applicable both to quasi-static subcritical molecular clouds and cores and violently collapsing supercritical entities. The increase of the gravitational potential as well as the magnetization of the gas increases the segregation of the mass and magnetic flux in the saturated final state of the

  11. Thinning of current sheets and magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Singh, N.; Deverapalli, C.

    Using three-dimensional particle-in-cell (3DPIC) simulations, we study the formation of a thin current sheet. The processes associated with thin current sheets reported here include its thinning, associated potential well in its central part, ion acceleration into the well, current-driven ion mode instabilities, electron and ion heating, current sheet re- broadening, current disruption in the central part of the current sheet and magnetic reconnection. It is shown that current driven instabilities become explosive when the preferential heating of electrons by the ions make electron temperature higher than that of the ions. This explosive stage is associated with high plasma resistivity, current disruption and bifurcated current sheets. The current disruption is linked to the magnetic reconnection.

  12. Particle Acceleration and Plasma Dynamics during Magnetic Reconnection in the Magnetically Dominated Regime

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guo, Fan; Liu, Yi-Hsin; Daughton, William; Li, Hui

    2015-06-01

    Magnetic reconnection is thought to be the driver for many explosive phenomena in the universe. The energy release and particle acceleration during reconnection have been proposed as a mechanism for producing high-energy emissions and cosmic rays. We carry out two- and three-dimensional (3D) kinetic simulations to investigate relativistic magnetic reconnection and the associated particle acceleration. The simulations focus on electron-positron plasmas starting with a magnetically dominated, force-free current sheet (σ \\equiv {B}2/(4π {n}e{m}e{c}2)\\gg 1). For this limit, we demonstrate that relativistic reconnection is highly efficient at accelerating particles through a first-order Fermi process accomplished by the curvature drift of particles along the electric field induced by the relativistic flows. This mechanism gives rise to the formation of hard power-law spectra f\\propto {(γ -1)}-p and approaches p = 1 for sufficiently large σ and system size. Eventually most of the available magnetic free energy is converted into nonthermal particle kinetic energy. An analytic model is presented to explain the key results and predict a general condition for the formation of power-law distributions. The development of reconnection in these regimes leads to relativistic inflow and outflow speeds and enhanced reconnection rates relative to nonrelativistic regimes. In the 3D simulation, the interplay between secondary kink and tearing instabilities leads to strong magnetic turbulence, but does not significantly change the energy conversion, reconnection rate, or particle acceleration. This study suggests that relativistic reconnection sites are strong sources of nonthermal particles, which may have important implications for a variety of high-energy astrophysical problems.

  13. Particle acceleration and plasma dynamics during magnetic reconnection in the magnetically dominated regime

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Guo, Fan; Liu, Yi -Hsin; Daughton, William; Li, Hui

    2015-06-17

    Magnetic reconnection is thought to be the driver for many explosive phenomena in the universe. The energy release and particle acceleration during reconnection have been proposed as a mechanism for producing high-energy emissions and cosmic rays. We carry out two- and three-dimensional (3D) kinetic simulations to investigate relativistic magnetic reconnection and the associated particle acceleration. The simulations focus on electron–positron plasmas starting with a magnetically dominated, force-free current sheet (σ ≡ B2 / (4πnemec2) >> 1). For this limit, we demonstrate that relativistic reconnection is highly efficient at accelerating particles through a first-order Fermi process accomplished by the curvature driftmore » of particles along the electric field induced by the relativistic flows. This mechanism gives rise to the formation of hard power-law spectra f α (γ - 1)-p and approaches p = 1 for sufficiently large σ and system size. Eventually most of the available magnetic free energy is converted into nonthermal particle kinetic energy. An analytic model is presented to explain the key results and predict a general condition for the formation of power-law distributions. The development of reconnection in these regimes leads to relativistic inflow and outflow speeds and enhanced reconnection rates relative to nonrelativistic regimes. In the 3D simulation, the interplay between secondary kink and tearing instabilities leads to strong magnetic turbulence, but does not significantly change the energy conversion, reconnection rate, or particle acceleration. This paper suggests that relativistic reconnection sites are strong sources of nonthermal particles, which may have important implications for a variety of high-energy astrophysical problems.« less

  14. Particle acceleration and plasma dynamics during magnetic reconnection in the magnetically dominated regime

    SciTech Connect

    Guo, Fan; Liu, Yi -Hsin; Daughton, William; Li, Hui

    2015-06-17

    Magnetic reconnection is thought to be the driver for many explosive phenomena in the universe. The energy release and particle acceleration during reconnection have been proposed as a mechanism for producing high-energy emissions and cosmic rays. We carry out two- and three-dimensional (3D) kinetic simulations to investigate relativistic magnetic reconnection and the associated particle acceleration. The simulations focus on electron–positron plasmas starting with a magnetically dominated, force-free current sheet (σ ≡ B2 / (4πnemec2) >> 1). For this limit, we demonstrate that relativistic reconnection is highly efficient at accelerating particles through a first-order Fermi process accomplished by the curvature drift of particles along the electric field induced by the relativistic flows. This mechanism gives rise to the formation of hard power-law spectra f α (γ - 1)-p and approaches p = 1 for sufficiently large σ and system size. Eventually most of the available magnetic free energy is converted into nonthermal particle kinetic energy. An analytic model is presented to explain the key results and predict a general condition for the formation of power-law distributions. The development of reconnection in these regimes leads to relativistic inflow and outflow speeds and enhanced reconnection rates relative to nonrelativistic regimes. In the 3D simulation, the interplay between secondary kink and tearing instabilities leads to strong magnetic turbulence, but does not significantly change the energy conversion, reconnection rate, or particle acceleration. This paper suggests that relativistic reconnection sites are strong sources of nonthermal particles, which may have important implications for a variety of high-energy astrophysical problems.

  15. FAST MAGNETIC RECONNECTION AND SPONTANEOUS STOCHASTICITY

    SciTech Connect

    Eyink, Gregory L.; Lazarian, A.; Vishniac, E. T.

    2011-12-10

    Magnetic field lines in astrophysical plasmas are expected to be frozen-in at scales larger than the ion gyroradius. The rapid reconnection of magnetic-flux structures with dimensions vastly larger than the gyroradius requires a breakdown in the standard Alfven flux-freezing law. We attribute this breakdown to ubiquitous MHD plasma turbulence with power-law scaling ranges of velocity and magnetic energy spectra. Lagrangian particle trajectories in such environments become 'spontaneously stochastic', so that infinitely many magnetic field lines are advected to each point and must be averaged to obtain the resultant magnetic field. The relative distance between initial magnetic field lines which arrive at the same final point depends upon the properties of two-particle turbulent dispersion. We develop predictions based on the phenomenological Goldreich and Sridhar theory of strong MHD turbulence and on weak MHD turbulence theory. We recover the predictions of the Lazarian and Vishniac theory for the reconnection rate of large-scale magnetic structures. Lazarian and Vishniac also invoked 'spontaneous stochasticity', but of the field lines rather than of the Lagrangian trajectories. More recent theories of fast magnetic reconnection appeal to microscopic plasma processes that lead to additional terms in the generalized Ohm's law, such as the collisionless Hall term. We estimate quantitatively the effect of such processes on the inertial-range turbulence dynamics and find them to be negligible in most astrophysical environments. For example, the predictions of the Lazarian and Vishniac theory are unchanged in Hall MHD turbulence with an extended inertial range, whenever the ion skin depth {delta}{sub i} is much smaller than the turbulent integral length or injection-scale L{sub i} .

  16. Current Sheet Formation and Reconnection at a Magnetic X Line

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeVore, C. Richard; Antiochos, S. K.

    2011-05-01

    Phenomena ranging from the quiescent heating of the ambient plasma to the highly explosive release of energy and acceleration of particles in flares are conjectured to result from magnetic reconnection at electric current sheets in the Sun's corona. We are investigating numerically the formation and eventual reconnection of a current sheet in an initially potential 2D magnetic field containing a null. Subjecting this simple configuration to unequal stresses in the four quadrants bounded by the X-line separatrix distorts the potential null into a double-Y-line current sheet. Although the gas pressure is finite in our simulations, so that the plasma beta is infinite at the null, we find that even small distortions of the magnetic field induce the formation of a tangential discontinuity there. This result is well known to occur in the zero-beta, force-free limit; surprisingly, it persists into the high-beta regime where, in principle, a small plasma pressure inhomogeneity could balance all of the magnetic stress. In addition to working to understand the dynamical details of this ideal process, we are examining the effect of resistive dissipation on the development of the current sheet and are seeking to determine the critical condition for fast-reconnection onset in the sheet. Our progress on understanding these issues, and the implications for the dynamic activity associated with current sheets in the solar corona, will be reported at the conference. We gratefully acknowledge NASA sponsorship of our research.

  17. Catastrophic onset of fast magnetic reconnection with a guide field

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassak, P. A.; Drake, J. F.; Shay, M. A.

    2007-05-01

    It was recently shown that the slow (collisional) Sweet-Parker and the fast (collisionless) Hall magnetic reconnection solutions simultaneously exist for a wide range of resistivities; reconnection is bistable [Cassak, Shay, and Drake, Phys. Rev. Lett., 95, 235002 (2005)]. When the thickness of the dissipation region becomes smaller than a critical value, the Sweet-Parker solution disappears and fast reconnection ensues, potentially explaining how large amounts of magnetic free energy can accrue without significant release before the onset of fast reconnection. Two-fluid numerical simulations extending the previous results for anti-parallel reconnection (where the critical thickness is the ion skin depth) to component reconnection with a large guide field (where the critical thickness is the thermal ion Larmor radius) are presented. Applications to laboratory experiments of magnetic reconnection and the sawtooth crash are discussed.

  18. Magnetic reconnection driven by current repulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Richard, R. L.; Sydora, R. D.; Ashour-Abdalla, M.

    1990-01-01

    The evolution of an equilibrium consisting of two magnetic islands with oppositely directed currents embedded in a strong magnetic field is investigated, using numerical simulation methods. The rapid development of an ideal magnetohydrodynamic instability is observed, which first rotates and then expels the islands. The growth rate is on the order of the inverse of the Alfven transit time and is much higher than that for magnetic island coalescence. In the nonlinear stage, resistivity becomes important as the reconnection process ensues and dissipates the magnetic energy. The growth rate of the instability is a weak function of the plasma beta and other plasma parameters such as S, the magnetic Reynolds number. An energy principle analysis, based on eigenfunctions obtained from the simulation, confirms the existence of the instability.

  19. Aspects of Three-Dimensional Magnetic Reconnection - (Invited Review)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Priest, E. R.; Schrijver, C. J.

    1999-12-01

    In this review paper we discuss several aspects of magnetic reconnection theory, focusing on the field-line motions that are associated with reconnection. A new exact solution of the nonlinear MHD equations for reconnective annihilation is presented which represents a two-fold generalization of the previous solutions. Magnetic reconnection at null points by several mechanisms is summarized, including spine reconnection, fan reconnection and separator reconnection, where it is pointed out that two common features of separator reconnection are the rapid flipping of magnetic field lines and the collapse of the separator to a current sheet. In addition, a formula for the rate of reconnection between two flux tubes is derived. The magnetic field of the corona is highly complex, since the magnetic carpet consists of a multitude of sources in the photosphere. Progress in understanding this complexity may, however, be made by constructing the skeleton of the field and developing a theory for the local and global bifurcations between the different topologies. The eruption of flux from the Sun may even sometimes be due to a change of topology caused by emerging flux break-out. A CD-ROM attached to this paper presents the results of a toy model of vacuum reconnection, which suggests that rapid flipping of field lines in fan and separator reconnection is an essential ingredient also in real non-vacuum conditions. In addition, it gives an example of binary reconnection between a pair of unbalanced sources as they move around, which may contribute significantly to coronal heating. Finally, we present examples in TRACE movies of geometrical changes of the coronal magnetic field that are a likely result of large-scale magnetic reconnection.

  20. Magnetic Reconnection Rate in Space Plasmas: A Fractal Approach

    SciTech Connect

    Materassi, Massimo; Consolini, Giuseppe

    2007-10-26

    Magnetic reconnection is generally discussed via a fluid description. Here, we evaluate the reconnection rate assuming a fractal topology of the reconnection region. The central idea is that the fluid hypothesis may be violated at the scales where reconnection takes place. The reconnection rate, expressed as the Alfven Mach number of the plasma moving toward the diffusion region, is shown to depend on the fractal dimension and on the sizes of the reconnection or diffusion region. This mechanism is more efficient than prediction of the Sweet-Parker model and even Petschek's model for finite magnetic Reynolds number. A good agreement also with rates given by Hall MHD models is found. A discussion of the fractal assumption on the diffusion region in terms of current microstructures is proposed. The comparison with in-situ satellite observations suggests the reconnection region to be a filamentary domain.

  1. Aspects of Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection in Asymmetric Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hesse, Michael; Aunai, Nicolas; Zenitani, Seiji; Kuznetsova, Masha; Birn, Joachim

    2013-01-01

    Asymmetric reconnection is being investigated by means of particle-in-cell simulations. The research has two foci: The direction of the reconnection line in configurations with nonvanishing magnetic fields; and the question why reconnection can be faster if a guide field is added to an otherwise unchanged asymmetric configuration. We find that reconnection prefers a direction, which maximizes the available magnetic energy, and show that this direction coincides with the bisection of the angle between the asymptotic magnetic fields. Regarding the difference in reconnection rates between planar and guide field models, we demonstrate that a guide field can provide essential confinement for particles in the reconnection region, which the weaker magnetic field in one of the inflow directions cannot necessarily provide.

  2. Aspects of Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection in Asymmetric Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hesse, Michael; Aunai, Nicolas; Zeitani, Seiji; Kuznetsova, Masha; Birn, Joachim

    2013-01-01

    Asymmetric reconnection is being investigated by means of particle-in-cell simulations. The research has two foci: the direction of the reconnection line in configurations with non-vanishing magnetic fields; and the question why reconnection can be faster if a guide field is added to an otherwise unchanged asymmetric configuration. We find that reconnection prefers a direction, which maximizes the available magnetic energy, and show that this direction coincides with the bisection of the angle between the asymptotic magnetic fields. Regarding the difference in reconnection rates between planar and guide field models, we demonstrate that a guide field can provide essential confinement for particles in the reconnection region, which the weaker magnetic field in one of the inflow directions cannot necessarily provide.

  3. Aspects of collisionless magnetic reconnection in asymmetric systems

    SciTech Connect

    Hesse, Michael; Aunai, Nicolas; Kuznetsova, Masha; Zenitani, Seiji; Birn, Joachim

    2013-06-15

    Asymmetric reconnection is being investigated by means of particle-in-cell simulations. The research has two foci: the direction of the reconnection line in configurations with nonvanishing magnetic fields; and the question why reconnection can be faster if a guide field is added to an otherwise unchanged asymmetric configuration. We find that reconnection prefers a direction, which maximizes the available magnetic energy, and show that this direction coincides with the bisection of the angle between the asymptotic magnetic fields. Regarding the difference in reconnection rates between planar and guide field models, we demonstrate that a guide field can provide essential confinement for particles in the reconnection region, which the weaker magnetic field in one of the inflow directions cannot necessarily provide.

  4. Three-dimensional modeling of electron quasiviscous dissipation in guide-field magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Hesse, Michael; Kuznetsova, Masha; Schindler, Karl; Birn, Joachim

    2005-10-01

    A numerical study of guide-field magnetic reconnection in a three-dimensional model is presented. Starting from an initial, perturbed, force-free current sheet, it is shown that reconnection develops to an almost translationally invariant state, where magnetic perturbations are aligned primarily along the main current flow direction. An analysis of guide-field and electron flow signatures indicates behavior that is very similar to earlier, albeit not three-dimensional, simulations. Furthermore, a detailed investigation of electron pressure nongyrotropies in the central diffusion region confirms the major role the associated dissipation process plays in establishing the reconnection electric field.

  5. Electron Force Balance in Steady Collisionless-Driven Reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Li Bin; Horiuchi, Ritoku

    2008-11-21

    Steady collisionless-driven reconnection in an open system is investigated by means of full-particle simulations. A long thin electron current sheet extends towards the outflow direction when the system relaxes to a steady state. Although the pressure tensor term along the reconnection electric field contributes to the violation of the electron frozen-in condition, a new force balance in the inflow direction is realized between the Lorentz and electrostatic forces, which is quite different from that in Harris equilibrium. The strong electrostatic field is generated through the combined effect of the Hall term and a driving inflow. This new force balance is more evident in the three-dimensional case due to the growth of an instability along the reconnection electric field. It is also found that the normalized charge density is in proportion to the square of the electron Alfven velocity averaged over the electron dissipation region.

  6. Experimental study of ion heating and acceleration during magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Hsu, S.C.

    2000-01-28

    This dissertation reports an experimental study of ion heating and acceleration during magnetic reconnection, which is the annihilation and topological rearrangement of magnetic flux in a conductive plasma. Reconnection is invoked often to explain particle heating and acceleration in both laboratory and naturally occurring plasmas. However, a simultaneous account of reconnection and its associated energy conversion has been elusive due to the extreme inaccessibility of reconnection events, e.g. in the solar corona, the Earth's magnetosphere, or in fusion research plasmas. Experiments for this work were conducted on MRX (Magnetic Reconnection Experiment), which creates a plasma environment allowing the reconnection process to be isolated, reproduced, and diagnosed in detail. Key findings of this work are the identification of local ion heating during magnetic reconnection and the determination that non-classical effects must provide the heating mechanism. Measured ion flows are sub-Alfvenic and can provide only slight viscous heating, and classical ion-electron interactions can be neglected due to the very long energy equipartition time. The plasma resistivity in the reconnection layer is seen to be enhanced over the classical value, and the ion heating is observed to scale with the enhancement factor, suggesting a relationship between the magnetic energy dissipation mechanism and the ion heating mechanism. The observation of non-classical ion heating during reconnection has significant implications for understanding the role played by non-classical dissipation mechanisms in generating fast reconnection. The findings are relevant for many areas of space and laboratory plasma research, a prime example being the currently unsolved problem of solar coronal heating. In the process of performing this work, local measurements of ion temperature and flows in a well-characterized reconnection layer were obtained for the first time in either laboratory or observational

  7. Three-dimensional lattice Boltzmann model for magnetic reconnection.

    PubMed

    Mendoza, M; Muñoz, J D

    2008-02-01

    We develop a three-dimensional (3D) lattice Boltzmann model that recovers in the continuous limit the two-fluids theory for plasmas, and consequently includes the generalized Ohm's law. The model reproduces the magnetic reconnection process just by giving the right initial equilibrium conditions in the magnetotail, without any assumption on the resistivity in the diffusive region. In this model, the plasma is handled similar to two fluids with an interaction term, each one with distribution functions associated to a cubic lattice with 19 velocities (D3Q19). The electromagnetic fields are considered as a third fluid with an external force on a cubic lattice with 13 velocities (D3Q13). The model can simulate either viscous fluids in the incompressible limit or nonviscous compressible fluids, and successfully reproduces both the Hartmann flow and the magnetic reconnection in the magnetotail. The reconnection rate in the magnetotail obtained with this model lies between R=0.062 and R=0.073, in good agreement with the observations. PMID:18352154

  8. Three-dimensional lattice Boltzmann model for magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Mendoza, M.; Munoz, J. D.

    2008-02-15

    We develop a three-dimensional (3D) lattice Boltzmann model that recovers in the continuous limit the two-fluids theory for plasmas, and consequently includes the generalized Ohm's law. The model reproduces the magnetic reconnection process just by giving the right initial equilibrium conditions in the magnetotail, without any assumption on the resistivity in the diffusive region. In this model, the plasma is handled similar to two fluids with an interaction term, each one with distribution functions associated to a cubic lattice with 19 velocities (D3Q19). The electromagnetic fields are considered as a third fluid with an external force on a cubic lattice with 13 velocities (D3Q13). The model can simulate either viscous fluids in the incompressible limit or nonviscous compressible fluids, and successfully reproduces both the Hartmann flow and the magnetic reconnection in the magnetotail. The reconnection rate in the magnetotail obtained with this model lies between R=0.062 and R=0.073, in good agreement with the observations.

  9. Notes on Magnetohydrodynamics of Magnetic Reconnection in Turbulent Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Browning, Philippa; Lazarian, Alex

    2013-10-01

    Astrophysical fluids have very large Reynolds numbers and therefore turbulence is their natural state. Magnetic reconnection is an important process in many astrophysical plasmas, which allows restructuring of magnetic fields and conversion of stored magnetic energy into heat and kinetic energy. Turbulence is known to dramatically change different transport processes and therefore it is not unexpected that turbulence can alter the dynamics of magnetic field lines within the reconnection process. We shall review the interaction between turbulence and reconnection at different scales, showing how a state of turbulent reconnection is natural in astrophysical plasmas, with implications for a range of phenomena across astrophysics. We consider the process of magnetic reconnection that is fast in magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) limit and discuss how turbulence—both externally driven and generated in the reconnecting system—can make reconnection independent on the microphysical properties of plasmas. We will also show how relaxation theory can be used to calculate the energy dissipated in turbulent reconnecting fields. As well as heating the plasma, the energy dissipated by turbulent reconnection may cause acceleration of non-thermal particles, which is briefly discussed here.

  10. Notes on Magnetohydrodynamics of Magnetic Reconnection in Turbulent Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Browning, Philippa; Lazarian, Alex

    Astrophysical fluids have very large Reynolds numbers and therefore turbulence is their natural state. Magnetic reconnection is an important process in many astrophysical plasmas, which allows restructuring of magnetic fields and conversion of stored magnetic energy into heat and kinetic energy. Turbulence is known to dramatically change different transport processes and therefore it is not unexpected that turbulence can alter the dynamics of magnetic field lines within the reconnection process. We shall review the interaction between turbulence and reconnection at different scales, showing how a state of turbulent reconnection is natural in astrophysical plasmas, with implications for a range of phenomena across astrophysics. We consider the process of magnetic reconnection that is fast in magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) limit and discuss how turbulence—both externally driven and generated in the reconnecting system—can make reconnection independent on the microphysical properties of plasmas. We will also show how relaxation theory can be used to calculate the energy dissipated in turbulent reconnecting fields. As well as heating the plasma, the energy dissipated by turbulent reconnection may cause acceleration of non-thermal particles, which is briefly discussed here.

  11. Magnetic reconnection in Saturn's magnetotail: A comprehensive magnetic field survey

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, A. W.; Jackman, C. M.; Thomsen, M. F.

    2016-04-01

    Reconnection within planetary magnetotails is responsible for locally energizing particles and changing the magnetic topology. Its role in terms of global magnetospheric dynamics can involve changing the mass and flux content of the magnetosphere. We have identified reconnection related events in spacecraft magnetometer data recorded during Cassini's exploration of Saturn's magnetotail. The events are identified from deflections in the north-south component of the magnetic field, significant above a background level. Data were selected to provide full tail coverage, encompassing the dawn and dusk flanks as well as the deepest midnight orbits. Overall 2094 reconnection related events were identified, with an average rate of 5.0 events per day. The majority of events occur in clusters (within 3 h of other events). We examine changes in this rate in terms of local time and latitude coverage, taking seasonal effects into account. The observed reconnection rate peaks postmidnight with more infrequent but steady loss seen on the dusk flank. We estimate the mass loss from the event catalog and find it to be insufficient to balance the input from the moon Enceladus. Several reasons for this discrepancy are discussed. The reconnection X line location appears to be highly variable, though a statistical separation between events tailward and planetward of the X line is observed at a radial distance of between 20 and 30RS downtail. The small sample size at dawn prevents comprehensive statistical comparison with the dusk flank observations in terms of flux closure.

  12. Preliminary Results of Laboratory Simulation of Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Shou-Biao; Xie, Jin-Lin; Hu, Guang-Hai; Li, Hong; Huang, Guang-Li; Liu, Wan-Dong

    2011-10-01

    In the Linear Magnetized Plasma (LMP) device of University of Science and Technology of China and by exerting parallel currents on two parallel copper plates, we have realized the magnetic reconnection in laboratory plasma. With the emissive probes, we have measured the parallel (along the axial direction) electric field in the process of reconnection, and verified the dependence of reconnection current on passing particles. Using the magnetic probe, we have measured the time evolution of magnetic flux, and the measured result shows no pileup of magnetic flux, in consistence with the result of numerical simulation.

  13. On the relationship between quadrupolar magnetic field and collisionless reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Smets, R. Belmont, G.; Aunai, N.; Boniface, C.

    2014-06-15

    Using hybrid simulations, we investigate the onset of fast reconnection between two cylindrical magnetic shells initially close to each other. This initial state mimics the plasma structure in High Energy Density Plasmas induced by a laser-target interaction and the associated self-generated magnetic field. We clearly observe that the classical quadrupolar structure of the out-of-plane magnetic field appears prior to the reconnection onset. Furthermore, a parametric study reveals that, with a non-coplanar initial magnetic topology, the reconnection onset is delayed and possibly suppressed. The relation between the out-of-plane magnetic field and the out-of-plane electric field is discussed.

  14. Reconnection of vorticity lines and magnetic lines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greene, John M.

    1993-01-01

    Magnetic field and fluid vorticity share many features. First, as divergence-free vector fields they are conveniently visualized in terms of their field lines, curves that are everywhere tangent to the field. The lines indicate direction and their density indicates field strength. The question arises of the extent to which the evolution of the fields can be treated in terms of the evolution of their field lines. Newcomb (1958) derived the general conditions on the evolution of vector fields that permit the identification of field lines from one instant to the next. The equations of evolution of the vorticity field and the magnetic field fall within Newcomb's analysis. The dynamics of the flows differ between these two systems, so that geometrically similar phenomena happen in different ways in the two systems. In this paper the geometrical similarities are emphasized. Reconnection will be defined here as evolution in which it is not possible to preserve the global identification of some field lines. There is a close relation between reconnection and the topology of the vector field lines. Nontrivial topology occurs where the field has null points or there are field lines that are closed loops.

  15. Observing the release of twist by magnetic reconnection in a solar filament eruption

    PubMed Central

    Xue, Zhike; Yan, Xiaoli; Cheng, Xin; Yang, Liheng; Su, Yingna; Kliem, Bernhard; Zhang, Jun; Liu, Zhong; Bi, Yi; Xiang, Yongyuan; Yang, Kai; Zhao, Li

    2016-01-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process of topology change and energy release, taking place in plasmas on the Sun, in space, in astrophysical objects and in the laboratory. However, observational evidence has been relatively rare and typically only partial. Here we present evidence of fast reconnection in a solar filament eruption using high-resolution H-alpha images from the New Vacuum Solar Telescope, supplemented by extreme ultraviolet observations. The reconnection is seen to occur between a set of ambient chromospheric fibrils and the filament itself. This allows for the relaxation of magnetic tension in the filament by an untwisting motion, demonstrating a flux rope structure. The topology change and untwisting are also found through nonlinear force-free field modelling of the active region in combination with magnetohydrodynamic simulation. These results demonstrate a new role for reconnection in solar eruptions: the release of magnetic twist. PMID:27306479

  16. Observing the release of twist by magnetic reconnection in a solar filament eruption.

    PubMed

    Xue, Zhike; Yan, Xiaoli; Cheng, Xin; Yang, Liheng; Su, Yingna; Kliem, Bernhard; Zhang, Jun; Liu, Zhong; Bi, Yi; Xiang, Yongyuan; Yang, Kai; Zhao, Li

    2016-01-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process of topology change and energy release, taking place in plasmas on the Sun, in space, in astrophysical objects and in the laboratory. However, observational evidence has been relatively rare and typically only partial. Here we present evidence of fast reconnection in a solar filament eruption using high-resolution H-alpha images from the New Vacuum Solar Telescope, supplemented by extreme ultraviolet observations. The reconnection is seen to occur between a set of ambient chromospheric fibrils and the filament itself. This allows for the relaxation of magnetic tension in the filament by an untwisting motion, demonstrating a flux rope structure. The topology change and untwisting are also found through nonlinear force-free field modelling of the active region in combination with magnetohydrodynamic simulation. These results demonstrate a new role for reconnection in solar eruptions: the release of magnetic twist. PMID:27306479

  17. Observing the release of twist by magnetic reconnection in a solar filament eruption

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xue, Zhike; Yan, Xiaoli; Cheng, Xin; Yang, Liheng; Su, Yingna; Kliem, Bernhard; Zhang, Jun; Liu, Zhong; Bi, Yi; Xiang, Yongyuan; Yang, Kai; Zhao, Li

    2016-06-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process of topology change and energy release, taking place in plasmas on the Sun, in space, in astrophysical objects and in the laboratory. However, observational evidence has been relatively rare and typically only partial. Here we present evidence of fast reconnection in a solar filament eruption using high-resolution H-alpha images from the New Vacuum Solar Telescope, supplemented by extreme ultraviolet observations. The reconnection is seen to occur between a set of ambient chromospheric fibrils and the filament itself. This allows for the relaxation of magnetic tension in the filament by an untwisting motion, demonstrating a flux rope structure. The topology change and untwisting are also found through nonlinear force-free field modelling of the active region in combination with magnetohydrodynamic simulation. These results demonstrate a new role for reconnection in solar eruptions: the release of magnetic twist.

  18. High power heating of magnetic reconnection in merging tokamak experimentsa)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ono, Y.; Tanabe, H.; Yamada, T.; Gi, K.; Watanabe, T.; , T., Ii; Gryaznevich, M.; Scannell, R.; Conway, N.; Crowley, B.; Michael, C.

    2015-05-01

    Significant ion/electron heating of magnetic reconnection up to 1.2 keV was documented in two spherical tokamak plasma merging experiment on MAST with the significantly large Reynolds number R˜105. Measured 1D/2D contours of ion and electron temperatures reveal clearly energy-conversion mechanisms of magnetic reconnection: huge outflow heating of ions in the downstream and localized heating of electrons at the X-point. Ions are accelerated up to the order of poloidal Alfven speed in the reconnection outflow region and are thermalized by fast shock-like density pileups formed in the downstreams, in agreement with recent solar satellite observations and PIC simulation results. The magnetic reconnection efficiently converts the reconnecting (poloidal) magnetic energy mostly into ion thermal energy through the outflow, causing the reconnection heating energy proportional to square of the reconnecting (poloidal) magnetic field Brec2 ˜ Bp2. The guide toroidal field Bt does not affect the bulk heating of ions and electrons, probably because the reconnection/outflow speeds are determined mostly by the external driven inflow by the help of another fast reconnection mechanism: intermittent sheet ejection. The localized electron heating at the X-point increases sharply with the guide toroidal field Bt, probably because the toroidal field increases electron confinement and acceleration length along the X-line. 2D measurements of magnetic field and temperatures in the TS-3 tokamak merging experiment also reveal the detailed reconnection heating mechanisms mentioned above. The high-power heating of tokamak merging is useful not only for laboratory study of reconnection but also for economical startup and heating of tokamak plasmas. The MAST/TS-3 tokamak merging with Bp > 0.4 T will enables us to heat the plasma to the alpha heating regime: Ti > 5 keV without using any additional heating facility.

  19. Extended Magnetic Reconnection Across the Dayside Magnetopause

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dunlop, M. W.; Zhang, Q.-H.; Bogdanova, Y. V.; Lockwood, M.; Pu, Z.; Hasegawa, H.; Wang, J.; Taylor, M. G. G. T.; Berchem, J.; Lavraund, B.; Eastwood, J.; Volwerk, M.; Shen, C.; Shi, J.-K.; Constantinescu, D.; Frey, H.; Fazakerley, A. N.; Sibeck, D.; Escoubet, P.; Wild, J. A.; Liu, Z.-X.

    2011-01-01

    The extent of where magnetic reconnection (MR), the dominant process responsible for energy and plasma transport into the magnetosphere, operates across Earth's dayside magnetopause has previously been only indirectly shown by observations. We report the first direct evidence of X-line structure resulting from the operation of MR at each of two widely separated locations along the tilted, subsolar line of maximum current on Earth's magnetopause, confirming the operation of MR at two or more sites across the extended region where MR is expected to occur. The evidence results from in-situ observations of the associated ion and electron plasma distributions, present within each magnetic X-line structure, taken by two spacecraft passing through the active MR regions simultaneously.

  20. Extended magnetic reconnection across the dayside magnetopause.

    PubMed

    Dunlop, M W; Zhang, Q-H; Bogdanova, Y V; Lockwood, M; Pu, Z; Hasegawa, H; Wang, J; Taylor, M G G T; Berchem, J; Lavraud, B; Eastwood, J; Volwerk, M; Shen, C; Shi, J-K; Constantinescu, D; Frey, H; Fazakerley, A N; Sibeck, D; Escoubet, P; Wild, J A; Liu, Z-X

    2011-07-01

    The extent of where magnetic reconnection (MR), the dominant process responsible for energy and plasma transport into the magnetosphere, operates across Earth's dayside magnetopause has previously been only indirectly shown by observations. We report the first direct evidence of X-line structure resulting from the operation of MR at each of two widely separated locations along the tilted, subsolar line of maximum current on Earth's magnetopause, confirming the operation of MR at two or more sites across the extended region where MR is expected to occur. The evidence results from in-situ observations of the associated ion and electron plasma distributions, present within each magnetic X-line structure, taken by two spacecraft passing through the active MR regions simultaneously. PMID:21797615

  1. Magnetic reconnection in space and laboratory plasmas; Proceedings of the Chapman Conference on Magnetic Reconnection, Los Alamos, NM, October 3-7, 1983

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hones, E. W., Jr. (Editor)

    1984-01-01

    The physics of magnetic reconnection is discussed in reviews and reports of theoretical and experimental investigations. Topics examined include the theory of magnetic reconnection, reconnection in astronomical objects, reconnection in the earth magnetosphere and magnetotail, computer modeling, and laboratory plasmas. Diagrams, spectra, drawings, graphs, and photographs are provided.

  2. Dynamic Response of Magnetic Reconnection Due to Current Sheet Variability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    George, D. E.; Jahn, J. M.; Burch, J. L.; Hesse, M.; Pollock, C. J.

    2014-12-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a process which regulates the interaction between regions of magnetized plasma. While many factors have an impact on the evolution of this process, there still remains a lack of understanding of the key behaviors involved in the triggering of fast reconnection. Despite an abundance of in-situ measurements, indicating the high degree of variability in the thickness, density and composition along the current sheet, no simulation studies exist which account for such current sheet variations. 2D and 3D simulations have a periodic boundary in the dimension along the current sheet and so tend to neglect these variations in the current sheet originating external to the modeled reconnection region. Here we focus on the effects on reconnection due to the variability in the thickness and density of the current sheet. Using 2.5D kinetic simulations of 2-species plasma, we isolate and explore the dynamic effects on reconnection associated with variations in the current sheet originating externally to the reconnection region. While periodic boundary conditions are still used, in the direction along the current sheet, a step-change perturbation in thickness or density of the current sheet is introduced once a stable reconnection rate is reached. The dynamic response of the overall system, after introducing the perturbation, is then evaluated, with a focus on the reconnection rate. When the reconnection rate is slowed significantly over time, loading of the inflow region occurs (a build-up of plasma and magnetic energy/pressure. This state is indicated by an asymptotic behavior in the reconnection rate over time. If a sudden variation in the current sheet is introduced under these conditions, a resultant triggering of fast reconnection may occur, which could lead to an episode of fast reconnection, saw-tooth-crash condition or even act as a trigger for sub-storms.

  3. Bidirectional Outflows as Evidence of Magnetic Reconnection Leading to a Solar Microflare

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hong, Jie; Ding, M. D.; Li, Ying; Yang, Kai; Cheng, Xin; Chen, Feng; Fang, Cheng; Cao, Wenda

    2016-03-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a rapid energy release process that is believed to be responsible for flares on the Sun and stars. Nevertheless, such flare-related reconnection is mostly detected to occur in the corona, while there have been few studies concerning the reconnection in the chromosphere or photosphere. Here, we present both spectroscopic and imaging observations of magnetic reconnection in the chromosphere leading to a microflare. During the flare peak time, chromospheric line profiles show significant blueshifted/redshifted components on the two sides of the flaring site, corresponding to upflows and downflows with velocities of ±(70-80) km s-1, comparable with the local Alfvén speed as expected by the reconnection in the chromosphere. The three-dimensional nonlinear force-free field configuration further discloses twisted field lines (a flux rope) at a low altitude, cospatial with the dark threads in He i 10830 Å images. The instability of the flux rope may initiate the flare-related reconnection. These observations provide clear evidence of magnetic reconnection in the chromosphere and show the similar mechanisms of a microflare to those of major flares.

  4. Boosting magnetic reconnection by viscosity and thermal conduction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Minoshima, Takashi; Miyoshi, Takahiro; Imada, Shinsuke

    2016-07-01

    Nonlinear evolution of magnetic reconnection is investigated by means of magnetohydrodynamic simulations including uniform resistivity, uniform viscosity, and anisotropic thermal conduction. When viscosity exceeds resistivity (the magnetic Prandtl number P r m > 1 ), the viscous dissipation dominates outflow dynamics and leads to the decrease in the plasma density inside a current sheet. The low-density current sheet supports the excitation of the vortex. The thickness of the vortex is broader than that of the current for P r m > 1 . The broader vortex flow more efficiently carries the upstream magnetic flux toward the reconnection region, and consequently, boosts the reconnection. The reconnection rate increases with viscosity provided that thermal conduction is fast enough to take away the thermal energy increased by the viscous dissipation (the fluid Prandtl number Pr < 1). The result suggests the need to control the Prandtl numbers for the reconnection against the conventional resistive model.

  5. Enhanced magnetic reconnection in the presence of pressure gradients

    SciTech Connect

    Pueschel, M. J.; Terry, P. W.; Told, D.; Jenko, F.

    2015-06-15

    Magnetic reconnection in the presence of background pressure gradients is studied, with special attention to parallel (compressional) magnetic fluctuations. A process is reported that reconnects fields through coupling of drift-wave-type instabilities with current sheets. Its time scale is set not by the reconnecting field but by inhomogeneities of the background density or temperature. The observed features can be attributed to a pressure-gradient-driven linear instability which interacts with the reconnecting system but is fundamentally different from microtearing. In particular, this mode relies on parallel magnetic fluctuations and the associated drift. For turbulent reconnection, similar or even stronger enhancements are reported. In the solar corona, this yields a critical pressure gradient scale length of about 200 km below which this new process becomes dominant over the tearing instability.

  6. The role of Magnetic Reconnection in flares and prominence eruptions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Forbes, T. G.

    1990-01-01

    Magnetic Reconnection is often invoked as the primary mechanism for driving a flare or a prominence eruption. This paper argues that a catastrophic loss of mechanical equilibrium, rather than reconnection, is probably the primary mechanism for driving these phenomena. However, reconnection is still essential in order for any significant amount of energy to be released. To illustrate this idea, some recent results are presented from an MHD simulation based on a catastrophe mechanism first proposed by Van Tend and Kuperus. In order for this mechanism to be effective, a substantial amount of reconnection must occur within a few Alfven-scale times. Such rapid reconnection is plausible since the loss of mechanical equilibrium can generate flows which drive the reconnection at a rapid rate.

  7. Electron-scale measurements of magnetic reconnection in space.

    PubMed

    Burch, J L; Torbert, R B; Phan, T D; Chen, L-J; Moore, T E; Ergun, R E; Eastwood, J P; Gershman, D J; Cassak, P A; Argall, M R; Wang, S; Hesse, M; Pollock, C J; Giles, B L; Nakamura, R; Mauk, B H; Fuselier, S A; Russell, C T; Strangeway, R J; Drake, J F; Shay, M A; Khotyaintsev, Yu V; Lindqvist, P-A; Marklund, G; Wilder, F D; Young, D T; Torkar, K; Goldstein, J; Dorelli, J C; Avanov, L A; Oka, M; Baker, D N; Jaynes, A N; Goodrich, K A; Cohen, I J; Turner, D L; Fennell, J F; Blake, J B; Clemmons, J; Goldman, M; Newman, D; Petrinec, S M; Trattner, K J; Lavraud, B; Reiff, P H; Baumjohann, W; Magnes, W; Steller, M; Lewis, W; Saito, Y; Coffey, V; Chandler, M

    2016-06-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental physical process in plasmas whereby stored magnetic energy is converted into heat and kinetic energy of charged particles. Reconnection occurs in many astrophysical plasma environments and in laboratory plasmas. Using measurements with very high time resolution, NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission has found direct evidence for electron demagnetization and acceleration at sites along the sunward boundary of Earth's magnetosphere where the interplanetary magnetic field reconnects with the terrestrial magnetic field. We have (i) observed the conversion of magnetic energy to particle energy; (ii) measured the electric field and current, which together cause the dissipation of magnetic energy; and (iii) identified the electron population that carries the current as a result of demagnetization and acceleration within the reconnection diffusion/dissipation region. PMID:27174677

  8. Experimental onset threshold and magnetic pressure pileup for 3D Sweet-Parker reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Intrator, Thomas P; Sun, Xuan; Lapenta, Giovanni; Furno, Ivo

    2008-01-01

    In space, astrophysical and laboratory plasmas, magnetic reconnect ion converts magnetic into particle energy during unsteady, explosive events. The abrupt onset and cessation has been a long standing puzzle. We show the first three-dimensional (3D) laboratory example of onset and stagnation of Sweet-Parker type magnetic reconnection between magnetized and parallel current (flux) ropes driven by magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) attraction and 3D instability. Mutually attracting flux ropes advect and merge oppositely directed magnetic fields. Magnetic flux is annihilated, but reaches soon a threshold where magnetic flux and pressure pile up, and reconnection magnetic topology appears. This occurs when inflow speeds exceed the SweetParker speed v{sub SP} = v{sub A} / S{sup 1/2}, where v{sub A} is the Alfven speed and S is the Lundquist number for the reconnection layer, as magnetic flux arrives faster than flux annihilation can process it. Finally piled up fields generate MHD reaction forces that stall the inflow and the reconnection process.

  9. Studies of Magnetic Reconnection in Colliding Laser-Produced Plasmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rosenberg, Michael

    2013-10-01

    Novel images of magnetic fields and measurements of electron and ion temperatures have been obtained in the magnetic reconnection region of high- β, laser-produced plasmas. Experiments using laser-irradiated foils produce expanding, hemispherical plasma plumes carrying MG Biermann-battery magnetic fields, which can be driven to interact and reconnect. Thomson-scattering measurements of electron and ion temperatures in the interaction region of two colliding, magnetized plasmas show no thermal enhancement due to reconnection, as expected for β ~ 8 plasmas. Two different proton radiography techniques used to image the magnetic field structures show deformation, pileup, and annihilation of magnetic flux. High-resolution images reveal unambiguously reconnection-induced jets emerging from the interaction region and show instabilities in the expanding plasma plumes and supersonic, hydrodynamic jets due to the plasma collision. Quantitative magnetic flux data show that reconnection in experiments with asymmetry in the scale size, density, temperature, and plasma flow across the reconnection region occurs less efficiently than in similar, symmetric experiments. This result is attributed to disruption of the Hall mechanism mediating collisionless reconnection. The collision of plasmas carrying parallel magnetic fields has also been probed, illustrating the deformation of magnetic field structures in high-energy-density plasmas in the absence of reconnection. These experiments are particularly relevant to high- β reconnection environments, such as the magnetopause. This work was performed in collaboration with C. Li, F. Séguin, A. Zylstra, H. Rinderknecht, H. Sio, J. Frenje, and R. Petrasso (MIT), I. Igumenshchev, V. Glebov, C. Stoeckl, and D. Froula (LLE), J. Ross and R. Town (LLNL), W. Fox (UNH), and A. Nikroo (GA), and was supported in part by the NLUF, FSC/UR, U.S. DOE, LLNL, and LLE.

  10. Preliminary Experimental Result of Magnetic Reconnection in Laboratory Plasma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, S. B.; Xie, J. L.; Hu, G. H.; Li, H.; Huang, G. L.; Liu, W. D.

    2011-05-01

    Magnetic reconnection is one of the most important physical processes in astrophysical plasmas. Lots of theoretical works, numerical simulations and observations have been done. Some experimental programs have been activated to investigate the basic mechanisms of magnetic reconnection. In order to investigate the electron dynamic near the electron diffusion region in magnetic reconnection process, an upgrade is accomplished in the LMP (Linear magnetic plasmas) device at University of Science and Technology of China. The magnetic field of reconnection is produced by passing two identical currents axially through two copper plates. Magnetic field and parallel electric field are measured by magnetic probes and emissive probes, respectively. The existence of a large electric field related to the reconnection process is verified. The plasma is driven by electric field and magnetic field, so the magnetic reconnection appears. The magnitude of axial current is found to scale with the number of passing particles. In the configuration of current bars, passing particles are even more and our measured axial current is about 10 A. Magnetic flux doesn't pile up because of the parameter region in our case, which is consistent with the result of numerical simulation.

  11. Three-Dimensional Localized Magnetic Reconnection in Torus Plasma Merging Device TS-4

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ii, Toru; Hayashi, Yoshinori; Inomoto, Michiaki; Ono, Yasushi

    Three-dimensional (3-D) localized magnetic reconnection was studied experimentally using torus plasma merging device TS-4. The direct measurements of 3-D structures of current sheet revealed two unsteady and fast reconnection mechanisms: 3-D deformation of current sheet and mass ejection. When strong compression force IAcc∼60kA was applied to two plasma toroids with low guide field Bt/B¦¦∼1, toroidal modes n=1-3 of current sheet were observed to grow only during their reconnection and to disappear after the reconnection. This 3-D deformation promoted mass ejection from the current sheet, increasing the reconnection rate as well as reconnection (toroidal) electric field and outflow. On the other hand, the reconnection rate was maintained low under the high guide field Bt/B¦¦∼7 and weak compression IAcc∼0kA. These phenomena suggest that local compression of current sheet triggers its strong dissipation as well as plasma mass ejection, which are responsible for the onset of 3-D localized reconnection.

  12. A hybrid simulation study of magnetic reconnection in anisotropic plasmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guo, Jun; Li, Yi; Lu, Quan-ming; Wang, Shui

    2003-10-01

    The process of magnetic reconnection in anisotropic plasmas is studied numerically using a 2-dimensional, 3-component hybrid simulation. The results of the calculation show that, when the plasma pressure in the direction perpendicular to magnetic field is larger than that in the parallel direction (e.g. P ⊥/P ‖ = 1.5 ), instability may greatly increase, speeding up the rate of reconnection. When P⊥ is smaller than P‖, (e.g., when P ⊥/P ‖ = 0.6 ), fire hose instability appears, which will restrain the tearing mode instability and the process of magnetic reconnection.

  13. Measurements of Fast Magnetic Reconnection Driven by Relativistic Electrons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raymond, Anthony; McKelvey, Andrew; Zulick, Calvin; Chuanfei, Dong; Maksimchuk, Anatoly; Thomas, Alexander; Yanovsky, Victor; Krushelnick, Karl; Willingale, Louise; Chykov, Vladimir; Nilson, Phil; Chen, Hui; Williams, Gerald; Bhattacharjee, Amitava; Fox, Will

    2015-11-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a process whereby opposing magnetic field lines are forced together and topologically rearrange, resulting in lower magnetic potential energy and in corresponding plasma heating. Such occurrences are ubiquitous in astrophysics as well as appearing in laboratory plasmas such as in ICF in the form of instabilities. We report measurements in the domain of ultra-fast, ultra-intense lasers, in which the mechanism responsible follows from radially expanding surface electrons with v ~ c . Results are compared from two laser facilities (HERCULES and Omega EP), both of which produced two relativistic intensity pulses focused within close proximity onto copper foils. A spherical X-ray crystal was used to image the Kα radiation induced by electron currents, revealing the midplane diffusion region wherein electrons are accelerated into the target by the electric field generated during reconnection. The characteristics of this signal are studied as a function of the focal spot separation, laser energy, and pulse duration. The results are then compared to 3D PIC simulations.

  14. Instabilities and Magnetic Reconnection near the Heliopause

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pogorelov, N. V.; Kryukov, I.; Borovikov, S.; Heerikhuisen, J.

    2014-12-01

    Recent observations from the Voyager 1 spacecraft show that it is sampling the local interstellar medium (LISM). This is quite surprising because standard steady-state and time-dependent models of the solar wind (SW) interaction with the LISM cannot give the heliopause position at about 120 AU without unrealistic assumptions about the LISM properties. This includes such models that assume a strong redistribution of the ion energy to the tails in the pickup ion distribution function. We investigate the heliopause (HP) stability with increased spatial resolution to reveal the details of the coupling between the heliospheric and interstellar magnetic fields (HMF and ISMF) at the heliospheric interface. In particular, this resolution makes it possible to perform a detailed comparison with Voyager observations. We also analyze magnetic field simulation results to identify the areas of possible magnetic reconnection between the HMF and ISMF lines. The Rayleigh-Taylor instability is considerably suppressed near the HP nose by the heliospheric magnetic field in steady-state models, but reveals itself in the presence of solar cycle effects. We argue that Voyager 1 may have penetrated into the LISM through such instability region. We also compare numerical simulations with the LISM properties taken from either Ulysses or IBEX observations.

  15. MESSENGER observations of magnetic reconnection in Mercury's magnetosphere.

    PubMed

    Slavin, James A; Acuña, Mario H; Anderson, Brian J; Baker, Daniel N; Benna, Mehdi; Boardsen, Scott A; Gloeckler, George; Gold, Robert E; Ho, George C; Korth, Haje; Krimigis, Stamatios M; McNutt, Ralph L; Raines, Jim M; Sarantos, Menelaos; Schriver, David; Solomon, Sean C; Trávnícek, Pavel; Zurbuchen, Thomas H

    2009-05-01

    Solar wind energy transfer to planetary magnetospheres and ionospheres is controlled by magnetic reconnection, a process that determines the degree of connectivity between the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) and a planet's magnetic field. During MESSENGER's second flyby of Mercury, a steady southward IMF was observed and the magnetopause was threaded by a strong magnetic field, indicating a reconnection rate ~10 times that typical at Earth. Moreover, a large flux transfer event was observed in the magnetosheath, and a plasmoid and multiple traveling compression regions were observed in Mercury's magnetotail, all products of reconnection. These observations indicate that Mercury's magnetosphere is much more responsive to IMF direction and dominated by the effects of reconnection than that of Earth or the other magnetized planets. PMID:19407194

  16. Fast magnetic reconnection in three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamics simulations

    SciTech Connect

    Pang Bijia; Pen, U.-L.; Vishniac, Ethan T.

    2010-10-15

    A constructive numerical example of fast magnetic reconnection in a three-dimensional periodic box is presented. Reconnection is initiated by a strong, localized perturbation to the field lines. The solution is intrinsically three-dimensional and its gross properties do not depend on the details of the simulations. {approx}30% of the magnetic energy is released in an event which lasts about one Alfven time, but only after a delay during which the field lines evolve into a critical configuration. The physical picture of the process is presented. The reconnection regions are dynamical and mutually interacting. In the comoving frame of these regions, reconnection occurs through a x-like point, analogous to Petschek reconnection. The dynamics appear to be driven by global flows, not local processes.

  17. Small-Scale Magnetic Reconnection at Equatorial Coronal Hole Boundaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lamb, Derek; DeForest, C. E.

    2011-05-01

    Coronal holes have long been known to be the source of the fast solar wind at both high and low latitudes. The equatorial extensions of polar coronal holes have long been assumed to have substantial magnetic reconnection at their boundaries, because they rotate more rigidly than the underlying photosphere. However, evidence for this reconnection has been sparse until very recently. We present some evidence that reconnection due to the evolution of small-scale magnetic fields may be sufficient to drive coronal hole boundary evolution. We hypothesize that a bias in the direction of that reconnection is sufficient to give equatorial coronal holes their rigid rotation. We discuss the prospects for investigating this using FLUX, a reconnection-controlled coronal MHD simulation framework. This work was funded by the NASA SHP-GI program.

  18. Cross-Scale Observational Signatures of Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Savage, Sabrina; Malaspina, David

    2014-01-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a significant mechanism for energy release across many astrophysical applications. In the solar atmosphere, reconnection is considered a primary contributor of flare evolution and coronal heating. Directly observing reconnection occurring in the solar atmosphere, however, is not trivial considering that the scale size of the diffusion region is magnitudes smaller than the observational capabilities of current instrumentation, and coronal magnetic field measurements are not currently sufficient to capture the process. Meanwhile, reconnection occurring in the Earth's magnetosphere transfers energy from the solar wind through a comparable process, although on vastly different scales. Magnetospheric measurements are made in situ rather than remotely; ergo, comparison of observations between the two regimes allows for potentially significant insight into reconnection as a stochastic and possibly turbulent process. We will present a set of observations from long-duration solar events and compare them to in situ measurements from the magnetosphere.

  19. Review of recent experiments on magnetic reconnection in laboratory plasmas

    SciTech Connect

    Yamada, M.

    1995-02-01

    The present paper reviews recent laboratory experiments on magnetic reconnection. Examples will be drawn from electron current sheet experiments, merging spheromaks, and from high temperature tokamak plasmas with the Lundquist numbers exceeding 10{sup 7}. These recent laboratory experiments create an environment which satisfies the criteria for MHD plasma and in which the global boundary conditions can be controlled externally. Experiments with fully three dimensional reconnection are now possible. In the most recent TFTR tokamak discharges, Motional Stark effect (MSE) data have verified the existence of a partial reconnection. In the experiment of spheromak merging, a new plasma acceleration parallel to the neutral line has been indicated. Together with the relationship of these observations to the analysis of magnetic reconnection in space and in solar flares, important physics issues such as global boundary conditions, local plasma parameters, merging angle of the field lines, and the 3-D aspects of the reconnection are discussed.

  20. Reconstruction of the Asymmetric Magnetic Reconnection Region at the Magnetopause

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guo, R.; Pu, Z.; Xie, L.; Fu, S.

    2015-12-01

    Magnetic reconnection at the magnetopause is a key process coupling the earth's magnetosphere with interplanetary space. Multiple spacecraft measurement makes it possible to study observationally the structure of the reconnection region. In this paper we improve the fitting-reconstructing method developed by He et al. [2008] and use it to investigate the asymmetric reconnection event observed by Cluster on Apr. 06, 2004. The reconnection site was encountered when the constellation traversed the dayside magnetopause at z~5.3Re, with spacecraft separations less than 400km. The reconstructing results clearly revealed the asymmetric geometry of the reconnection region. The orientation of the X-line, which was reproduced as the separator linking a pair of magnetic null points, was shown to be ~60° away from the M-direction in the local LMN coordinate. Bipolar and unipolar Hall fields were both seen by different spacecraft, implying that the reconnection regime was 3D in nature, and the difference in Hall fields could be related to the existence of two null points which restricted the length of the separator. In addition, electromagnetic lower hybrid waves are found to be enhanced on the magnetospheric side of the reconnection region. The reconstructing results are helpful for providing a 3D picture of the asymmetric reconnection region, and the improved reconstructing method can be applied to analyze the data from MMS which is deployed with small separations of satellites.

  1. Sub-grid-scale description of turbulent magnetic reconnection in magnetohydrodynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Widmer, F.; Büchner, J.; Yokoi, N.

    2016-04-01

    Magnetic reconnection requires, at least locally, a non-ideal plasma response. In collisionless space and astrophysical plasmas, turbulence could transport energy from large to small scales where binary particle collisions are rare. We have investigated the influence of small scale magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) turbulence on the reconnection rate in the framework of a compressible MHD approach including sub-grid-scale (SGS) turbulence. For this sake, we considered Harris-type and force-free current sheets with finite guide magnetic fields directed out of the reconnection plane. The goal is to find out whether unresolved by conventional simulations MHD turbulence can enhance the reconnection process in high-Reynolds-number astrophysical plasmas. Together with the MHD equations, we solve evolution equations for the SGS energy and cross-helicity due to turbulence according to a Reynolds-averaged turbulence model. The SGS turbulence is self-generated and -sustained through the inhomogeneities of the mean fields. By this way, the feedback of the unresolved turbulence into the MHD reconnection process is taken into account. It is shown that the turbulence controls the regimes of reconnection by its characteristic timescale τt. The dependence on resistivity was investigated for large-Reynolds-number plasmas for Harris-type as well as force-free current sheets with guide field. We found that magnetic reconnection depends on the relation between the molecular and apparent effective turbulent resistivity. We found that the turbulence timescale τt decides whether fast reconnection takes place or whether the stored energy is just diffused away to small scale turbulence. If the amount of energy transferred from large to small scales is enhanced, fast reconnection can take place. Energy spectra allowed us to characterize the different regimes of reconnection. It was found that reconnection is even faster for larger Reynolds numbers controlled by the molecular resistivity η, as

  2. A generalized flux function for three-dimensional magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Yeates, A. R.; Hornig, G.

    2011-10-15

    The definition and measurement of magnetic reconnection in three-dimensional magnetic fields with multiple reconnection sites is a challenging problem, particularly in fields lacking null points. We propose a generalization of the familiar two-dimensional concept of a magnetic flux function to the case of a three-dimensional field connecting two planar boundaries. In this initial analysis, we require the normal magnetic field to have the same distribution on both boundaries. Using hyperbolic fixed points of the field line mapping, and their global stable and unstable manifolds, we define a unique flux partition of the magnetic field. This partition is more complicated than the corresponding (well-known) construction in a two-dimensional field, owing to the possibility of heteroclinic points and chaotic magnetic regions. Nevertheless, we show how the partition reconnection rate is readily measured with the generalized flux function. We relate our partition reconnection rate to the common definition of three-dimensional reconnection in terms of integrated parallel electric field. An analytical example demonstrates the theory and shows how the flux partition responds to an isolated reconnection event.

  3. Study of driven magnetic reconnection in a laboratory plasma

    SciTech Connect

    Yamada, Masaaki; Ji, H.; Hsu, S.; Carter, T.; Kulsrud, R.; Bretz, N.; Jobes, F.; Ono, Yasushi; Perkins, F.

    1998-12-31

    The Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX) has been constructed to investigate the fundamental physics of magnetic reconnection in a well controlled laboratory setting. This device creates an environment satisfying the criteria for a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) plasma (S {much_gt} 1, {rho}{sub i} {much_lt} L). The boundary conditions can be controlled externally, and experiments with fully three-dimensional reconnection are now possible. In the initial experiments, the effects of the third vector component of reconnecting fields have been studied. Two distinctively different shapes of neutral sheet current layers, depending on the third component, are identified during driven magnetic reconnection. Without the third component (anti-parallel or null-helicity reconnection), a thin double-Y shaped diffusion region is identified. A neutral sheet current profile is measured accurately to be as narrow as order ion gyro-radius. In the presence of an appreciable third component (co-helicity reconnection), an O-shaped diffusion region appears and grows into a spheromak configuration.

  4. Fast collisionless reconnection and electron heating in strongly magnetized plasmas.

    PubMed

    Loureiro, N F; Schekochihin, A A; Zocco, A

    2013-07-12

    Magnetic reconnection in strongly magnetized (low-beta), weakly collisional plasmas is investigated by using a novel fluid-kinetic model [Zocco and Schekochihin, Phys. Plasmas 18, 102309 (2011)] which retains nonisothermal electron kinetics. It is shown that electron heating via Landau damping (linear phase mixing) is the dominant dissipation mechanism. In time, electron heating occurs after the peak of the reconnection rate; in space, it is concentrated along the separatrices of the magnetic island. For sufficiently large systems, the peak reconnection rate is cE(∥)(max) ≈ 0.2v(A)B(y,0), where v(A) is the Alfvén speed based on the reconnecting field B(y,0). The island saturation width is the same as in magnetohydrodynamics models except for small systems, when it becomes comparable to the kinetic scales. PMID:23889411

  5. A Rosetta Stone for in situ Observations of Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scudder, J. D.; Daughton, W. S.; Karimabadi, H.; Roytershteyn, V.

    2015-12-01

    Local conditions that constrain the physics of magnetic reconnection in space in 3D will be discussed, including those observable conditions presently used and new ones that enhance experimental closure. Three classes of tests will be discussed: i) proxies for unmeasurable theoretical properties II) observable properties satisfied by all layers that pass mass flux, including those of the reconnection layer, and (iii) observable kinetic tests that are increasingly peculiar to collisionless magnetic reconnection. A Rosetta Stone of state of the art observables will be proposed, including proxies for unmeasurable theoretical local rate of frozen flux violation and measures of the significance of frozen flux encountered. A suite of kinetic observables involving properties peculiar to electrons will also be demonstrated as promising litmus tests for certifying sites of collisionless magnetic reconnection.

  6. Properties of GRB light curves from magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beniamini, Paz; Granot, Jonathan

    2016-07-01

    The energy dissipation mechanism within gamma-ray burst (GRB) outflows, driving their extremely luminous prompt γ-ray emission is still uncertain. The leading candidates are internal shocks and magnetic reconnection. While the emission from internal shocks has been extensively studied, that from reconnection still has few quantitative predictions. We study the expected prompt-GRB emission from magnetic reconnection and compare its temporal and spectral properties to observations. The main difference from internal shocks is that for reconnection one expects relativistic bulk motions with Lorentz factors Γ'≳ a few in the jet's bulk frame. We consider such motions of the emitting material in two antiparallel directions (e.g. of the reconnecting magnetic-field lines) within an ultrarelativistic (with Γ ≫ 1) thin spherical reconnection layer. The emission's relativistic beaming in the jet's frame greatly affects the light curves. For emission at radii R0 < R < R0 + ΔR (with Γ = const), the observed pulse width is ΔT ˜ (R0/2cΓ2) max (1/Γ', ΔR/R0), i.e. up to ˜Γ' times shorter than for isotropic emission in the jet's frame. We consider two possible magnetic reconnection modes: a quasi-steady state with continuous plasma flow into and out of the reconnection layer, and sporadic reconnection in relativistic turbulence that produces relativistic plasmoids. Both of these modes can account for many observed prompt-GRB properties: variability, pulse asymmetry, the very rapid declines at their end and pulse evolutions that are either hard to soft (for Γ' ≲ 2) or intensity tracking (for Γ' > 2). However, the relativistic turbulence mode is more likely to be relevant for the prompt sub-MeV emission and can naturally account also for the peak luminosity - peak frequency correlation.

  7. Experimental Investigation of the Trigger Problem in Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Egedal, Jan

    2012-07-01

    Magnetic reconnection releases magnetic energy not only in steady-state, but also in time-dependent and often explosive events requiring a transition from slow reconnection to fast. The question of what causes this transition is known as the ``trigger problem'' and is not well understood. We address the trigger problem using the Versatile Toroidal Facility (VTF) at MIT. We observe spontaneous reconnection events [1] with exponentially growing reconnection rates, and we characterize the 3D dynamics of these events using multiple internal probes. The observed reconnection is asymmetric: it begins at one toroidal location and propagates around in both directions. The spontaneous onset is facilitated by an interaction between the x-line current channel and a global mode in the electrostatic potential. It is this mode which breaks axisymmetry and enables a localized decrease in x-line current. We model the onset using an empirical Ohm's law and current continuity, which is maintained by ion polarization currents associated with the mode. The model reproduces the exponential growth of the reconnection electric field, and the model growth rate agrees well with the experimentally measured growth rate. The onset location is likely determined by small asymmetries in the in-vessel coils. To further investigate this conjecture new coils have been installed, which allow for controlled changes in toroidal asymmetry. The observations are suggestive of solar flare dynamics and are relevant to tokamak research [3]. [1] Egedal, J. et al. Laboratory Observations of Spontaneous Magnetic Reconnection. Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 015003 (2007). [2] Katz, N. et al. Laboratory Observation of Localized Onset of Magnetic Reconnection. Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 255004 (2010). [3] Park, H.K. et al. Self-organized Te redistribution during driven reconnection processes in high-temperature plasmas. Phys. Plasmas 13, 055907 (2006).

  8. The Role of Magnetic Reconnection in Solar Activity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Antiochos, Spiro; DeVore, C. R.

    2008-01-01

    The central challenge in solar/heliospheric physics is to understand how the emergence and transport of magnetic flux at the photosphere drives the structure and dynamics that we observe in the corona and heliosphere. This presentation focuses on the role of magnetic reconnection in determining solar/heliospheric activity. We demonstrate that two generic properties of the photospheric magnetic and velocity fields are responsible for the ubiquitous reconnection in the corona. First, the photospheric velocities are complex, which leads to the injection of energy and helicity into the coronal magnetic fields and to the efficient, formation of small-scale structure. Second, the flux distribution at the photosphere is multi-polar, which implies that topological discontinuities and, consequently, current sheets, must be present in the coronal magnetic field. We: present numerical simulations showing that photospherically-driven reconnection is responsible for the heating and dynamics of coronal plasma, and for the topology of the coronal/heliospheric magnetic field.

  9. Conversion of magnetic energy in the magnetic reconnection layer of a laboratory plasma

    SciTech Connect

    Yamada, Masaaki; Yoo, Jongsoo; Jara-Almonte, Jonathan; Ji, Hantao; Kulsrud, Russell M.; Myers, Clayton E.

    2014-09-10

    Magnetic reconnection, in which magnetic field lines break and reconnect to change their topology, occurs throughout the universe. The essential feature of reconnection is that it energizes plasma particles by converting magnetic energy. Despite the long history of reconnection research, how this energy conversion occurs remains a major unresolved problem in plasma physics. Here we report that the energy conversion in a laboratory reconnection layer occurs in a much larger region than previously considered. The mechanisms for energizing plasma particles in the reconnection layer are identified, and a quantitative inventory of the converted energy is presented for the first time in a well defined reconnection layer; 50% of the magnetic energy is converted to particle energy, 2/3 of which transferred to ions and 1/3 to electrons. Our results are compared with simulations and space measurements, for a key step toward resolving one of the most important problems in plasma physics.

  10. Conversion of magnetic energy in the magnetic reconnection layer of a laboratory plasma

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Yamada, Masaaki; Yoo, Jongsoo; Jara-Almonte, Jonathan; Ji, Hantao; Kulsrud, Russell M.; Myers, Clayton E.

    2014-09-10

    Magnetic reconnection, in which magnetic field lines break and reconnect to change their topology, occurs throughout the universe. The essential feature of reconnection is that it energizes plasma particles by converting magnetic energy. Despite the long history of reconnection research, how this energy conversion occurs remains a major unresolved problem in plasma physics. Here we report that the energy conversion in a laboratory reconnection layer occurs in a much larger region than previously considered. The mechanisms for energizing plasma particles in the reconnection layer are identified, and a quantitative inventory of the converted energy is presented for the first timemore » in a well defined reconnection layer; 50% of the magnetic energy is converted to particle energy, 2/3 of which transferred to ions and 1/3 to electrons. Our results are compared with simulations and space measurements, for a key step toward resolving one of the most important problems in plasma physics.« less

  11. Conversion of magnetic energy in the magnetic reconnection layer of a laboratory plasma.

    PubMed

    Yamada, Masaaki; Yoo, Jongsoo; Jara-Almonte, Jonathan; Ji, Hantao; Kulsrud, Russell M; Myers, Clayton E

    2014-01-01

    Magnetic reconnection, in which magnetic field lines break and reconnect to change their topology, occurs throughout the universe. The essential feature of reconnection is that it energizes plasma particles by converting magnetic energy. Despite the long history of reconnection research, how this energy conversion occurs remains a major unresolved problem in plasma physics. Here we report that the energy conversion in a laboratory reconnection layer occurs in a much larger region than previously considered. The mechanisms for energizing plasma particles in the reconnection layer are identified, and a quantitative inventory of the converted energy is presented for the first time in a well-defined reconnection layer; 50% of the magnetic energy is converted to particle energy, 2/3 of which transferred to ions and 1/3 to electrons. Our results are compared with simulations and space measurements, for a key step towards resolving one of the most important problems in plasma physics. PMID:25205135

  12. A new magnetic reconnection paradigm: Stochastic plasmoid chains

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loureiro, Nuno

    2015-11-01

    Recent analytical and numerical research in magnetic reconnection has converged on the notion that reconnection sites (current sheets) are unstable to the formation of multiple magnetic islands (plasmoids), provided that the system is sufficiently large (or, in other words, that the Lundquist number of the plasma is high). Nonlinearly, plasmoids come to define the reconnection geometry. Their nonlinear dynamics is rather complex and best thought of as new form of turbulence whose properties are determined by continuous plasmoid formation and their subsequent ejection from the sheet, as well as the interaction (coalescence) between plasmoids of different sizes. The existence of these stochastic plasmoid chains has powerful implications for several aspects of the reconnection process, from determining the reconnection rate to the details and efficiency of the energy conversion and dissipation. In addition, the plasmoid instability may also directly bear on the little understood problem of the reconnection trigger, or onset, i.e., the abrupt transition from a slow stage of energy accumulation to a fast (explosive) stage of energy release. This talk will first provide a brief overview of these recent developments in the reconnection field. I will then discuss recent work addressing the onset problem in the context of a forming current sheet which becomes progressively more unstable to the plasmoid instability. Work partially supported by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia via Grants UID/FIS/50010/2013 and IF/00530/2013.

  13. Magnetic reconnection in turbulence: from Cluster to MMS and beyond

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Retino, Alessandro; Sundkvist, David; Matthaeus, William; Vaivads, Andris; Califano, Francesco; Khotyaintsev, Yuri; LeContel, Olivier; Sorriso-valvo, Luca; Chasapis, Alexandros; Lavraud, Benoit; Valentini, Francesco; Servidio, Sergio; Rossi, Claudia; Camporeale, Enrico

    2016-07-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a universal energy dissipation mechanism occurring in space and astrophysical magnetized plasmas. Such plasmas are frequently in a turbulent state, raising the fundamental question of the role reconnection for energy dissipation in turbulence. Understanding reconnection in turbulence is of pivotal importance to explain phenomena such as particle acceleration in stellar atmospheres, the heating of interplanetary and interstellar media as well as particle energization in accretion disks and cosmic rays acceleration. Many numerical simulations support the role of reconnection for efficiently dissipate turbulent energy and heat and accelerated particles. Such simulations indicate that reconnection occurs in small-scale current sheets spontaneously forming within the turbulence. Yet experimental evidence of reconnection in turbulence has been provided only recently thanks to high resolution in situ measurements by modern spacecraft. Here we present ESA/Cluster and more recent NASA/MMS observations in near-Earth space showing evidence of reconnection in turbulence and its importance for energy dissipation and particle energization. We also discuss implications for upcoming spacecraft missions such as Solar Orbiter and Solar Probe Plus, as well as for missions currently under study pahse such as ESA/THOR.

  14. Magnetic Field Shear in Kinetic Models Steps Toward Understanding Magnetic Reconnection Drivers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Black, Carrie; Antiochos, Spiro; DeVore, Rick; Karpen, Judith

    2015-11-01

    In the standard model for coronal mass ejections (CME) and/or solar flares, the free energy for the eruptive event resides in a strongly sheared magnetic. A pre-eruption force balance consists of an upward force due to the magnetic pressure of the sheared field and a downward tension due to overlying unsheared field. Magnetic reconnection disrupts this force balance; therefore, it is critical for understanding CME/flare initiation, to model the onset of reconnection driven by the build-up of magnetic shear. In MHD simulations, the application of a magnetic-field shear is a trivial matter. However, kinetic effects are dominant in the diffusion region and thus, it is important to examine this process with PIC simulations as well. The implementation of such a driver in PIC methods is challenging, however, and indicates the necessity of a true multiscale model for such processes in the solar environment. The field must be sheared self-consistently and indirectly to prevent the generation of waves that destroy the desired system. Plasma instabilities can arise nonetheless. Here, we show that we can control this instability and generate a predicted out-of-plane magnetic flux. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award No. AGS-1331356.

  15. Kinetic Vlasov simulations of collisionless magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Schmitz, H.; Grauer, R.

    2006-09-15

    A fully kinetic Vlasov simulation of the Geospace Environment Modeling Magnetic Reconnection Challenge is presented. Good agreement is found with previous kinetic simulations using particle in cell (PIC) codes, confirming both the PIC and the Vlasov code. In the latter the complete distribution functions f{sub k} (k=i,e) are discretized on a numerical grid in phase space. In contrast to PIC simulations, the Vlasov code does not suffer from numerical noise and allows a more detailed investigation of the distribution functions. The role of the different contributions of Ohm's law are compared by calculating each of the terms from the moments of the f{sub k}. The important role of the off-diagonal elements of the electron pressure tensor could be confirmed. The inductive electric field at the X line is found to be dominated by the nongyrotropic electron pressure, while the bulk electron inertia is of minor importance. Detailed analysis of the electron distribution function within the diffusion region reveals the kinetic origin of the nongyrotropic terms.

  16. The Role of Compressibility in Energy Release by Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Birn, J.; Borovosky, J. E.; Hesse, M.

    2012-01-01

    Using resistive compressible magnetohydrodynamics, we investigate the energy release and transfer by magnetic reconnection in finite (closed or periodic) systems. The emphasis is on the magnitude of energy released and transferred to plasma heating in configurations that range from highly compressible to incompressible, based on the magnitude of the background beta (ratio of plasma pressure over magnetic pressure) and of a guide field in two-dimensional reconnection. As expected, the system becomes more incompressible, and the role of compressional heating diminishes, with increasing beta or increasing guide field. Nevertheless, compressional heating may dominate over Joule heating for values of the guide field of 2 or 3 (in relation to the reconnecting magnetic field component) and beta of 5-10. This result stems from the strong localization of the dissipation near the reconnection site, which is modeled based on particle simulation results. Imposing uniform resistivity, corresponding to a Lundquist number of 10(exp 3) to 10(exp 4), leads to significantly larger Ohmic heating. Increasing incompressibility greatly reduces the magnetic flux transfer and the amount of energy released, from approx. 10% of the energy associated with the reconnecting field component, for zero guide field and low beta, to approx. 0.2%-0.4% for large values of the guide field B(sub y0) > 5 or large beta. The results demonstrate the importance of taking into account plasma compressibility and localization of dissipation in investigations of heating by turbulent reconnection, possibly relevant for solar wind or coronal heating.

  17. New Measure of the Dissipation Region in Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zenitani, Seiji; Hesse, Michael; Klimas, Alex; Kuznetsova, Masha

    2012-01-01

    A new measure to identify a small-scale dissipation region in collisionless magnetic reconnection is proposed. The energy transfer from the electromagnetic field to plasmas in the electron s rest frame is formulated as a Lorentz-invariant scalar quantity. The measure is tested by two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations in typical configurations: symmetric and asymmetric reconnection, with and without the guide field. The innermost region surrounding the reconnection site is accurately located in all cases. We further discuss implications for nonideal MHD dissipation.

  18. New Measure of the Dissipation Region in Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Zenitani, Seiji; Hesse, Michael; Klimas, Alex; Kuznetsova, Masha

    2011-05-13

    A new measure to identify a small-scale dissipation region in collisionless magnetic reconnection is proposed. The energy transfer from the electromagnetic field to plasmas in the electron's rest frame is formulated as a Lorentz-invariant scalar quantity. The measure is tested by two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations in typical configurations: symmetric and asymmetric reconnection, with and without the guide field. The innermost region surrounding the reconnection site is accurately located in all cases. We further discuss implications for nonideal MHD dissipation.

  19. ONSET OF FAST MAGNETIC RECONNECTION IN PARTIALLY IONIZED GASES

    SciTech Connect

    Malyshkin, Leonid M.; Zweibel, Ellen G. E-mail: zweibel@astro.wisc.edu

    2011-10-01

    We consider quasi-stationary two-dimensional magnetic reconnection in a partially ionized incompressible plasma. We find that when the plasma is weakly ionized and the collisions between the ions and the neutral particles are significant, the transition to fast collisionless reconnection due to the Hall effect in the generalized Ohm's law is expected to occur at much lower values of the Lundquist number, as compared to a fully ionized plasma case. We estimate that these conditions for fast reconnection are satisfied in molecular clouds and in protostellar disks.

  20. Does the Rate of Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection Depend on the Dissipation Mechanism?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Aunai, Nicolas; Hesse, Michael; Black, Carrie; Evans, Rebekah; Kuznetsova, Maria

    2012-01-01

    The importance of the electron dissipation effect on the reconnection rate is investigated in the general case of asymmetric collisionless magnetic reconnection. Contrary to the standard collisionless reconnection model, it is found that the reconnection rate, and the macroscopic evolution of the reconnecting system, crucially depend on the nature of the dissipation mechanism and that the Hall effect alone is not able to sustain fast reconnection.

  1. High power heating of magnetic reconnection in merging tokamak experiments

    SciTech Connect

    Ono, Y.; Tanabe, H.; Gi, K.; Watanabe, T.; Ii, T.; Yamada, T.; Gryaznevich, M.; Scannell, R.; Conway, N.; Crowley, B.; Michael, C.

    2015-05-15

    Significant ion/electron heating of magnetic reconnection up to 1.2 keV was documented in two spherical tokamak plasma merging experiment on MAST with the significantly large Reynolds number R∼10{sup 5}. Measured 1D/2D contours of ion and electron temperatures reveal clearly energy-conversion mechanisms of magnetic reconnection: huge outflow heating of ions in the downstream and localized heating of electrons at the X-point. Ions are accelerated up to the order of poloidal Alfven speed in the reconnection outflow region and are thermalized by fast shock-like density pileups formed in the downstreams, in agreement with recent solar satellite observations and PIC simulation results. The magnetic reconnection efficiently converts the reconnecting (poloidal) magnetic energy mostly into ion thermal energy through the outflow, causing the reconnection heating energy proportional to square of the reconnecting (poloidal) magnetic field B{sub rec}{sup 2}  ∼  B{sub p}{sup 2}. The guide toroidal field B{sub t} does not affect the bulk heating of ions and electrons, probably because the reconnection/outflow speeds are determined mostly by the external driven inflow by the help of another fast reconnection mechanism: intermittent sheet ejection. The localized electron heating at the X-point increases sharply with the guide toroidal field B{sub t}, probably because the toroidal field increases electron confinement and acceleration length along the X-line. 2D measurements of magnetic field and temperatures in the TS-3 tokamak merging experiment also reveal the detailed reconnection heating mechanisms mentioned above. The high-power heating of tokamak merging is useful not only for laboratory study of reconnection but also for economical startup and heating of tokamak plasmas. The MAST/TS-3 tokamak merging with B{sub p} > 0.4 T will enables us to heat the plasma to the alpha heating regime: T{sub i} > 5 keV without using any additional heating facility.

  2. Comments on Magnetic Reconnection Models of Canceling Magnetic Features on the Sun

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Litvinenko, Yuri E.

    2015-06-01

    Data analysis and theoretical arguments support magnetic reconnection in a chromospheric current sheet as the mechanism of the observed photospheric magnetic flux cancellation on the Sun. Flux pile-up reconnection in a Sweet-Parker current sheet can explain the observed properties of canceling mag-netic features, including the speeds of canceling magnetic fragments, the magnetic uxes in the fragments, and the flux cancellation rates, inferred from the data. It is discussed how more realistic chromospheric reconnection models can be developed by relaxing the assumptions of a negligible current sheet curvature and a constant height of the reconnection site above the photosphere.

  3. Three-Dimensional Magnetic Field Line Reconnection involving Magnetic Flux Ropes (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gekelman, W. N.; van Compernolle, B.; Lawrence, E.; Vincena, S. T.

    2010-12-01

    We report on two experiments in which three dimensional magnetic field line reconnection plays a role. Magnetic field line reconnection is a processes in which the magnetic field energy is converted to particle energy and heating accompanied by changes in the magnetic topology. In the first experiment two magnetic flux ropes are generated from initially adjacent pulsed current channels in a background magnetoplasma in the LAPD device at UCLA. The currents exert mutual jXB forces causing them to twist about each other and merge. The currents are not static but move towards or away from each other in time. In addition the currents are observed to filament after merging. Volumetric space-time data show multiple reconnection sites with time-dependent locations. The quasi-separatrix layer (QSL) is a narrow region between the flux ropes. Two field lines on either side of the QSL will have closely spaced foot-points at on end of the flux ropes, but a very different separation at the other end. Outside the QSL, neighboring field lines do not diverge. The QSL has been measured, for the first time in this experiment [1] and its three dimensional development will be shown in movies made from the data. A system involving the reconnection of three flux ropes will also be presented. Three flux ropes are generated by drawing currents through apertures in a carbon shield located in front of a 10 cm diameter cathode immersed in the background magnetoplasma. The currents are observed to twist about themselves, writhe about each other and thrash about due to kink the kink instability. Multiple reconnection regions (which are three dimensional) and a complex QSL are observed. The magnetic helicity is evaluated from volumetric data in both cases and its rate of change is used to estimate the plasma resistivity. These measurements lead one to suspect that magnetic field line reconnection is not an independent topic, which can be studied in isolation, but part of the phenomena associated

  4. Experimental study of energy conversion in the magnetic reconnection layer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamada, Masaaki

    2014-10-01

    Magnetic reconnection, in which magnetic field lines break and reconnect to change their topology, occurs throughout the universe: in solar flares, the earth's magnetosphere, star forming galaxies, and laboratory fusion plasmas. The essential feature of reconnection is that it energizes plasma particles by converting magnetic energy to particle energy; this process both accelerates and heats the plasma particles. Despite the recent advances of reconnection research, the exact mechanisms for bulk plasma heating, particle acceleration, and energy flow channels remain unresolved. In this work, the mechanisms responsible for the energization of plasma particles in the magnetic reconnection layer are investigated in the MRX device together with a quantitative evaluation of the conversion of magnetic energy to ions and electrons. A comprehensive analysis of the reconnection layer is made in terms of two-fluid physics based on the measurements of two-dimensional profiles of 1) electric potential, 2) flow vectors of electrons and ions, and 3) the electron temperature, Te and the ion temperature, Ti in the layer. It is experimentally verified that a saddle shaped electrostatic electric potential profile is formed in the reconnection plane. Ions are accelerated across the separatrices by the strong electrostatic field and enter the exhaust region where they become thermalized. Electron heating is observed to extend beyond the electron diffusion region, and non-classical heating mechanisms associated with high frequency fluctuations is found to play a role. Our quantitative analysis of the energy transport processes and energy inventory concludes that more than 50% of magnetic energy is converted to plasma particles, of which 2/3 transferred to ions and 1/3 to electrons. The results which demonstrate that conversion of magnetic energy occurs in a significantly larger region than theoretically considered before, are compared with the two-fluid simulations and the recent space

  5. The local dayside reconnection rate for oblique interplanetary magnetic fields

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Komar, C. M.; Cassak, P. A.

    2016-06-01

    We present an analysis of local properties of magnetic reconnection at the dayside magnetopause for various interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) orientations in global magnetospheric simulations. This has heretofore not been practical because it is difficult to locate where reconnection occurs for oblique IMF, but new techniques make this possible. The approach is to identify magnetic separators, the curves separating four regions of differing magnetic topology, which map the reconnection X line. The electric field parallel to the X line is the local reconnection rate. We compare results to a simple model of local two-dimensional asymmetric reconnection. To do so, we find the plasma parameters that locally drive reconnection in the magnetosheath and magnetosphere in planes perpendicular to the X line at a large number of points along the X line. The global magnetohydrodynamic simulations are from the three-dimensional Block-Adaptive, Tree Solarwind Roe-type Upwind Scheme (BATS-R-US) code with a uniform resistivity, although the techniques described here are extensible to any global magnetospheric simulation model. We find that the predicted local reconnection rates scale well with the measured values for all simulations, being nearly exact for due southward IMF. However, the absolute predictions differ by an undetermined constant of proportionality, whose magnitude increases as the IMF clock angle changes from southward to northward. We also show similar scaling agreement in a simulation with oblique southward IMF and a dipole tilt. The present results will be an important component of a full understanding of the local and global properties of dayside reconnection.

  6. Critical Differences of Asymmetric Magnetic Reconnection from Standard Models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nitta, S.; Wada, T.; Fuchida, T.; Kondoh, K.

    2016-09-01

    We have clarified the structure of asymmetric magnetic reconnection in detail as the result of the spontaneous evolutionary process. The asymmetry is imposed as ratio k of the magnetic field strength in both sides of the initial current sheet (CS) in the isothermal equilibrium. The MHD simulation is carried out by the HLLD code for the long-term temporal evolution with very high spatial resolution. The resultant structure is drastically different from the symmetric case (e.g., the Petschek model) even for slight asymmetry k = 2. (1) The velocity distribution in the reconnection jet clearly shows a two-layered structure, i.e., the high-speed sub-layer in which the flow is almost field aligned and the acceleration sub-layer. (2) Higher beta side (HBS) plasma is caught in a lower beta side plasmoid. This suggests a new plasma mixing process in the reconnection events. (3) A new large strong fast shock in front of the plasmoid forms in the HBS. This can be a new particle acceleration site in the reconnection system. These critical properties that have not been reported in previous works suggest that we contribute to a better and more detailed knowledge of the reconnection of the standard model for the symmetric magnetic reconnection system.

  7. Vlasov simulations of collisionless magnetic reconnection without background density

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmitz, H.; Grauer, R.

    2008-02-01

    A standard starting point for the simulation of collisionless reconnection is the Harris equilibrium which is made up of a current sheet that separates two regions of opposing magnetic field. Magnetohydrodynamic simulations of collisionless reconnection usually include a homogeneous background density for reasons of numerical stability. While, in some cases, this is a realistic assumption, the background density may introduce new effects both due to the more involved structure of the distribution function or due to the fact that the Alfvèn speed remains finite far away from the current sheet. We present a fully kinetic Vlasov simulation of the perturbed Harris equilibrium using a Vlasov code. Parameters are chosen to match the Geospace Environment Modeling (GEM) Magnetic Reconnection Challenge but excluding the background density. This allows to compare with earlier simulations [Schmitz H, Grauer R. Kinetic Vlasov simulations of collisionless magnetic reconnection. Phys Plasmas 2006;13:092309] which include the background density. It is found that the absence of a background density causes the reconnection rate to be higher. On the other hand, the time until the onset of reconnection is hardly affected. Again the off diagonal elements of the pressure tensor are found to be important on the X-line but with modified importance for the individual terms.

  8. Experimental Study of Current-Driven Turbulence During Magnetic Reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Porkolab, Miklos; Egedal-Pedersen, Jan; Fox, William

    2010-08-31

    CMPD Final Report Experimental Study of Current-Driven Turbulence During Magnetic Reconnection Miklos Porkolab, PI, Jan Egedal, co-PI, William Fox, graduate student. This is the final report for Grant DE-FC02-04ER54786, MIT Participation in the Center for Multiscale Plasma Dynamics, which was active from 8/1/2004 to 7/31/2010. This Grant supported the thesis work of one MIT graduate student, William Fox, The thesis research consisted of an experimental study of the fluctuations arising during magnetic reconnection in plasmas on the Versatile Toroidal Facility (VTF) at MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC). The thesis was submitted and accepted by the MIT physics Department,. Fox, Experimental Study of Current-Driven Turbulence During Magnetic Reconnection, Ph.D. Thesis, MIT (2009). In the VTF experiment reconnection and current-sheet formation is driven by quickly changing currents in a specially arranged set of internal conductors. Previous work on this device [Egedal, et al, PRL 98, 015003, (2007)] identified a spontaneous reconnection regime. In this work fluctuations were studied using impedance-matched, high-bandwidth Langmuir probes. Strong, broadband fluctuations, with frequencies extending from near the lower-hybrid frequency [fLH = (fcefci)1/2] to the electron cyclotron frequency fce were found to arise during the reconnection events. Based on frequency and wavelength measurements, lower-hybrid waves and Trivelpiece-Gould waves were identified. The lower-hybrid waves are easiest to drive with strong perpendicular drifts or gradients which arise due to the reconnection events; an appealing possibility is strong temperature gradients. The Trivelpiece-Gould modes can result from kinetic, bump-on-tail instability of a runaway electron population energized by the reconnection events. We also observed that the turbulence is often spiky, consisting of discrete positive-potential spikes, which were identified as electron phase-space holes, a class of

  9. Magnetic reconnection in the near-Mars magnetotail: MAVEN observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harada, Y.; Halekas, J. S.; McFadden, J. P.; Mitchell, D. L.; Mazelle, C.; Connerney, J. E. P.; Espley, J.; Larson, D. E.; Brain, D. A.; Andersson, L.; DiBraccio, G. A.; Collinson, G. A.; Livi, R.; Hara, T.; Ruhunusiri, S.; Jakosky, B. M.

    2015-11-01

    We report Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) observations of electrons, ions, and magnetic fields which provide comprehensive demonstration of magnetic reconnection signatures in the Martian magnetotail. In the near-Mars tail current sheet at XMSO˜-1.3RM, trapped electrons with two-sided loss cones were observed, indicating the closed magnetic field topology. In the closed field region, MAVEN observed Hall magnetic field signatures and Marsward bulk flows of H+, O+, and O2+ ions, which suggest the presence of X lines tailward from the spacecraft. Velocity distribution functions of the reconnection outflow ions exhibit counterstreaming beams separated along the current sheet normal, and their bulk velocities in the outflow direction inversely depend on ion mass. These characteristics are in qualitative agreement with previous multispecies kinetic simulations. The near-Mars magnetotail provides a unique environment for studying multi-ion reconnection.

  10. The relation between reconnected flux, the parallel electric field, and the reconnection rate in a three-dimensional kinetic simulation of magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Wendel, D. E.; Olson, D. K.; Hesse, M.; Kuznetsova, M.; Adrian, M. L.; Aunai, N.; Karimabadi, H.; Daughton, W.

    2013-12-15

    We investigate the distribution of parallel electric fields and their relationship to the location and rate of magnetic reconnection in a large particle-in-cell simulation of 3D turbulent magnetic reconnection with open boundary conditions. The simulation's guide field geometry inhibits the formation of simple topological features such as null points. Therefore, we derive the location of potential changes in magnetic connectivity by finding the field lines that experience a large relative change between their endpoints, i.e., the quasi-separatrix layer. We find a good correspondence between the locus of changes in magnetic connectivity or the quasi-separatrix layer and the map of large gradients in the integrated parallel electric field (or quasi-potential). Furthermore, we investigate the distribution of the parallel electric field along the reconnecting field lines. We find the reconnection rate is controlled by only the low-amplitude, zeroth and first–order trends in the parallel electric field while the contribution from fluctuations of the parallel electric field, such as electron holes, is negligible. The results impact the determination of reconnection sites and reconnection rates in models and in situ spacecraft observations of 3D turbulent reconnection. It is difficult through direct observation to isolate the loci of the reconnection parallel electric field amidst the large amplitude fluctuations. However, we demonstrate that a positive slope of the running sum of the parallel electric field along the field line as a function of field line length indicates where reconnection is occurring along the field line.

  11. The relation between reconnected flux, the parallel electric field, and the reconnection rate in a three-dimensional kinetic simulation of magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wendel, D. E.; Olson, D. K.; Hesse, M.; Aunai, N.; Kuznetsova, M.; Karimabadi, H.; Daughton, W.; Adrian, M. L.

    2013-12-01

    We investigate the distribution of parallel electric fields and their relationship to the location and rate of magnetic reconnection in a large particle-in-cell simulation of 3D turbulent magnetic reconnection with open boundary conditions. The simulation's guide field geometry inhibits the formation of simple topological features such as null points. Therefore, we derive the location of potential changes in magnetic connectivity by finding the field lines that experience a large relative change between their endpoints, i.e., the quasi-separatrix layer. We find a good correspondence between the locus of changes in magnetic connectivity or the quasi-separatrix layer and the map of large gradients in the integrated parallel electric field (or quasi-potential). Furthermore, we investigate the distribution of the parallel electric field along the reconnecting field lines. We find the reconnection rate is controlled by only the low-amplitude, zeroth and first-order trends in the parallel electric field while the contribution from fluctuations of the parallel electric field, such as electron holes, is negligible. The results impact the determination of reconnection sites and reconnection rates in models and in situ spacecraft observations of 3D turbulent reconnection. It is difficult through direct observation to isolate the loci of the reconnection parallel electric field amidst the large amplitude fluctuations. However, we demonstrate that a positive slope of the running sum of the parallel electric field along the field line as a function of field line length indicates where reconnection is occurring along the field line.

  12. Orientation of the X-line in asymmetric magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aunai, N.; Hesse, M.; Lavraud, B.; Dargent, J.; Smets, R.

    2016-08-01

    > Magnetic reconnection can occur in current sheets separating magnetic fields sheared by any angle and of arbitrarily different amplitudes. In such asymmetric and non-coplanar systems, it is not yet understood what the orientation of the X-line will be. Studying how this orientation is determined locally by the reconnection process is important to understand systems such as the Earth magnetopause, where reconnection occurs in regions with large differences in upstream plasma and field properties. This study aims at determining what the local X-line orientation is for different upstream magnetic shear angles in an asymmetric set-up relevant to the Earth's magnetopause. We use two-dimensional hybrid simulations and vary the simulation plane orientation with regard to the fixed magnetic field profile and search for the plane maximizing the reconnection rate. We find that the plane defined by the bisector of upstream fields maximizes the reconnection rate and this appears not to depend on the magnetic shear angle, domain size or upstream plasma and asymmetries.

  13. Understanding the dynamics and energetics of magnetic reconnection in a laboratory plasma: Review of recent progress on selected fronts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamada, Masaaki; Yoo, Jongsoo; Myers, Clayton E.

    2016-05-01

    eruptions, including "storage and release" mechanisms of magnetic energy. We show that toroidal magnetic flux generated by magnetic relaxation (reconnection) processes generates a new stabilizing force which prevents plasma eruption. This result has led us to discover a new stabilizing force for solar flares [Myers et al., Nature 528, 526 (2015)].

  14. Cold ion heating at the dayside magnetopause during magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Toledo-Redondo, S.; André, M.; Vaivads, A.; Khotyaintsev, Yu. V.; Lavraud, B.; Graham, D. B.; Divin, A.; Aunai, N.

    2016-01-01

    Cold ions of ionospheric origin are known to be present in the magnetospheric side of the Earth's magnetopause. They can be very abundant, with densities up to 100 cm-3. These cold ions can mass load the magnetosphere, changing global parameters of magnetic reconnection, like the Alfvén speed or the reconnection rate. In addition they introduce a new length scale related to their gyroradius and kinetic effects which must be accounted for. We report in situ observations of cold ion heating in the separatrix owing to time and space fluctuations of the electric field. When this occurs, the cold ions are preheated before crossing the Hall electric field barrier. However, when this mechanism is not present cold ions can be observed well inside the reconnection exhaust. Our observations suggest that the perpendicular cold ion heating is stronger close to the X line owing to waves and electric field gradients linked to the reconnection process.

  15. Fast Magnetic Reconnection: Bridging Laboratory and Space Plasma Physics

    SciTech Connect

    Bhattacharjee, Amitava

    2012-02-16

    Recent developments in experimental and theoretical studies of magnetic reconnection hold promise for providing solutions to outstanding problems in laboratory and space plasma physics. Examples include sawtooth crashes in tokamaks, substorms in the Earth’s Magnetosphere, eruptive solar flares, and more recently, fast reconnection in laser-produced high energy density plasmas. In each of these examples, a common and long-standing challenge has been to explain why fast reconnection proceeds rapidly from a relatively quiescent state. In this talk, we demonstrate the advantages of viewing these problems and their solutions from a common perspective. We focus on some recent, surprising discoveries regarding the role of secondary plasmoid instabilities of thin current sheets. Nonlinearly, these instabilities lead to fast reconnection rates that are very weakly dependent on the Lundquist number of the plasma.

  16. Full Two-Fluid Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection Simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gomez, D. O.; Andres, N.; Dmitruk, P.

    2015-12-01

    Magnetic reconnection is an important energy conversion process in space environments such as the solar corona or planetary magnetospheres. At the theoretical level of resistive one-fluid MHD, the Sweet-Parker model leads to extremely low reconnection rates for virtually all space physics applications. Kinetic plasma effects introduce new spatial and temporal scales into the theoretical description, which are expected to increase the reconnection rates. Within the theoretical framework of two-fluid MHD, we retain the effects of the Hall current and electron inertia and neglect dissipative effects such as viscosity and electric resistivity. This level of description brings two new spatial scales into play, namely, the ion and electron inertial scales. In absence of resistive dissipation, reconnection can only be attained by the action of electron inertia. We performed 2.5D two-fluid simulations using a pseudo-spectral code which yields exact conservation (to round-off errors) of the ideal invariants. Our simulations show that when the effects of electron inertia are retained, magnetic reconnection takes place. In a stationary regime, the reconnection rate is simply proportional to the ion inertial length, as also emerges from a scaling law derived from dimensional arguments.

  17. The Impact of Geometrical Constraints on Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hesse, Michael; Aunai, Nico; Kuznetsova, Masha; Frolov, Rebekah; Black, Carrrie

    2012-01-01

    One of the most often cited features associated with collisionless magnetic reconnection is a Hall-type magnetic field, which leads, in antiparallel geometries, to a quadrupolar magnetic field signature. The combination of this out of plane magnetic field with the reconnection in-plane magnetic field leads to angling of magnetic flux tubes out of the plane defined by the incoming magnetic flux. Because it is propagated by Whistler waves, the quadrupolar field can extend over large distances in relatively short amounts of time - in fact, it will extend to the boundary of any modeling domain. In reality, however, the surrounding plasma and magnetic field geometry, defined, for example, by the overall solar wind flow, will in practice limit the extend over which a flux tube can be angled out of the main plain. This poses the question to what extent geometric constraints limit or control the reconnection process and this is the question investigated in this presentation. The investigation will involve a comparison of calculations, where open boundary conditions are set up to mimic either free or constrained geometries. We will compare momentum transport, the geometry of the reconnection regions, and the acceleration if ions and electrons to provide the current sheet in the outflow jet.

  18. Scaling Laws for Magnetic Reconnection when Electron Pressure Anisotropy is near the Firehose Threshold

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ohia, Obioma; Egedal, Jan; Lukin, Vyacheslav S.; Daughton, William; Le, Ari

    2015-11-01

    Magnetic reconnection in weakly-collisional, a process linked to solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and magnetic substorms, has been widely studied through fluid and kinetic simulations. While two-fluid models often reproduce the fast reconnection rate of kinetic simulations, significant differences are observed in the structure of the reconnection regions. Recently, new equations of state that accurately account for the development of anisotropic electron pressure due to the electric and magnetic trapping of electrons have been developed. Guide-field, fluid simulations using these equations of state have been shown to reproduce the detailed reconnection region observed in kinetic simulations. Implementing this two-fluid simulation using the HiFi framework, we describe a mechanism for regulation of electron pressure anisotropy as well as study force balance of the electron layers in guide-field reconnection. Scaling laws for the heating observed in these layers based on upstream conditions are derived. Formerly of U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. Any opinions, findings, conclusions and/or recommendations are those of author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

  19. Electron acceleration from contracting magnetic islands during reconnection.

    PubMed

    Drake, J F; Swisdak, M; Che, H; Shay, M A

    2006-10-01

    A long-standing problem in the study of space and astrophysical plasmas is to explain the production of energetic electrons as magnetic fields 'reconnect' and release energy. In the Earth's magnetosphere, electron energies reach hundreds of thousands of electron volts (refs 1-3), whereas the typical electron energies associated with large-scale reconnection-driven flows are just a few electron volts. Recent observations further suggest that these energetic particles are produced in the region where the magnetic field reconnects. In solar flares, upwards of 50 per cent of the energy released can appear as energetic electrons. Here we show that electrons gain kinetic energy by reflecting from the ends of the contracting 'magnetic islands' that form as reconnection proceeds. The mechanism is analogous to the increase of energy of a ball reflecting between two converging walls--the ball gains energy with each bounce. The repetitive interaction of electrons with many islands allows large numbers to be efficiently accelerated to high energy. The back pressure of the energetic electrons throttles reconnection so that the electron energy gain is a large fraction of the released magnetic energy. The resultant energy spectra of electrons take the form of power laws with spectral indices that match the magnetospheric observations. PMID:17024088

  20. Understanding the dynamics and energetics of magnetic reconnection in a laboratory plasma: Review of recent progress on selected fronts

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Yamada, Masaaki; Yoo, Jongsoo; Myers, Clayton E.

    2016-05-11

    solar flare eruptions, including “storage and release” mechanisms of magnetic energy. We show that toroidalmagnetic flux generated by magnetic relaxation (reconnection) processes generates a new stabilizing force which prevents plasma eruption. This result has led us to discover a new stabilizing force for solar flares [Myers et al., Nature 528, 526 (2015)].« less

  1. Slowing of magnetic reconnection concurrent with weakening plasma inflows and increasing collisionality in strongly-driven laser-plasma experiments

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Rosenberg, M.  J.; Li, C.  K.; Fox, W.; Zylstra, A.  B.; Stoeckl, C.; Séguin, F.  H.; Frenje, J.  A.; Petrasso, R. D.

    2015-05-20

    An evolution of magnetic reconnection behavior, from fast jets to the slowing of reconnection and the establishment of a stable current sheet, has been observed in strongly-driven, β ≲ 20 laser-produced plasma experiments. This process has been inferred to occur alongside a slowing of plasma inflows carrying the oppositely-directed magnetic fields as well as the evolution of plasma conditions from collisionless to collisional. High-resolution proton radiography has revealed unprecedented detail of the forced interaction of magnetic fields and super-Alfvénic electron jets (Vjet~ 20VA) ejected from the reconnection region, indicating that two-fluid or collisionless magnetic reconnection occurs early in time. Themore » absence of jets and the persistence of strong, stable magnetic fields at late times indicates that the reconnection process slows down, while plasma flows stagnate and plasma conditions evolve to a cooler, denser, more collisional state. These results demonstrate that powerful initial plasma flows are not sufficient to force a complete reconnection of magnetic fields, even in the strongly-driven regime.« less

  2. Slowing of magnetic reconnection concurrent with weakening plasma inflows and increasing collisionality in strongly-driven laser-plasma experiments

    SciTech Connect

    Rosenberg, M.  J.; Li, C.  K.; Fox, W.; Zylstra, A.  B.; Stoeckl, C.; Séguin, F.  H.; Frenje, J.  A.; Petrasso, R. D.

    2015-05-20

    An evolution of magnetic reconnection behavior, from fast jets to the slowing of reconnection and the establishment of a stable current sheet, has been observed in strongly-driven, β ≲ 20 laser-produced plasma experiments. This process has been inferred to occur alongside a slowing of plasma inflows carrying the oppositely-directed magnetic fields as well as the evolution of plasma conditions from collisionless to collisional. High-resolution proton radiography has revealed unprecedented detail of the forced interaction of magnetic fields and super-Alfvénic electron jets (Vjet~ 20VA) ejected from the reconnection region, indicating that two-fluid or collisionless magnetic reconnection occurs early in time. The absence of jets and the persistence of strong, stable magnetic fields at late times indicates that the reconnection process slows down, while plasma flows stagnate and plasma conditions evolve to a cooler, denser, more collisional state. These results demonstrate that powerful initial plasma flows are not sufficient to force a complete reconnection of magnetic fields, even in the strongly-driven regime.

  3. Slowing of Magnetic Reconnection Concurrent with Weakening Plasma Inflows and Increasing Collisionality in Strongly Driven Laser-Plasma Experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rosenberg, M. J.; Li, C. K.; Fox, W.; Zylstra, A. B.; Stoeckl, C.; Séguin, F. H.; Frenje, J. A.; Petrasso, R. D.

    2015-05-01

    An evolution of magnetic reconnection behavior, from fast jets to the slowing of reconnection and the establishment of a stable current sheet, has been observed in strongly driven, β ≲20 laser-produced plasma experiments. This process has been inferred to occur alongside a slowing of plasma inflows carrying the oppositely directed magnetic fields as well as the evolution of plasma conditions from collisionless to collisional. High-resolution proton radiography has revealed unprecedented detail of the forced interaction of magnetic fields and super-Alfvénic electron jets (Vjet˜20 VA ) ejected from the reconnection region, indicating that two-fluid or collisionless magnetic reconnection occurs early in time. The absence of jets and the persistence of strong, stable magnetic fields at late times indicates that the reconnection process slows down, while plasma flows stagnate and plasma conditions evolve to a cooler, denser, more collisional state. These results demonstrate that powerful initial plasma flows are not sufficient to force a complete reconnection of magnetic fields, even in the strongly driven regime.

  4. Slowing of Magnetic Reconnection Concurrent with Weakening Plasma Inflows and Increasing Collisionality in Strongly Driven Laser-Plasma Experiments.

    PubMed

    Rosenberg, M J; Li, C K; Fox, W; Zylstra, A B; Stoeckl, C; Séguin, F H; Frenje, J A; Petrasso, R D

    2015-05-22

    An evolution of magnetic reconnection behavior, from fast jets to the slowing of reconnection and the establishment of a stable current sheet, has been observed in strongly driven, β≲20 laser-produced plasma experiments. This process has been inferred to occur alongside a slowing of plasma inflows carrying the oppositely directed magnetic fields as well as the evolution of plasma conditions from collisionless to collisional. High-resolution proton radiography has revealed unprecedented detail of the forced interaction of magnetic fields and super-Alfvénic electron jets (V_{jet}∼20V_{A}) ejected from the reconnection region, indicating that two-fluid or collisionless magnetic reconnection occurs early in time. The absence of jets and the persistence of strong, stable magnetic fields at late times indicates that the reconnection process slows down, while plasma flows stagnate and plasma conditions evolve to a cooler, denser, more collisional state. These results demonstrate that powerful initial plasma flows are not sufficient to force a complete reconnection of magnetic fields, even in the strongly driven regime. PMID:26047236

  5. The Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission: New Data on Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burch, James

    2015-11-01

    The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission was launched on March 12, 2015 into its Phase 1 elliptical orbit with apogee at 12 Earth radii (RE) . The baseline science goal for MMS is to Understand the microphysics of magnetic reconnection by determining the kinetic processes occurring in the electron diffusion region that are responsible for collisionless magnetic reconnection, especially how reconnection is initiated.In priority order, MMS will address three specific objectives: (1) Determine the role played by electron inertial effects and turbulent dissipation in driving magnetic reconnection in the electron diffusion region; (2) Determine the rate of magnetic reconnection and the parameters that control it. (3) Determine the role played by ion inertial effects in the physics of magnetic reconnection. During the six months of commissioning following launch, all of the instruments on the four spacecraft were made fully operational. Beginning on September 1, 2015 the spacecraft began their first scan of the dayside magnetopause in a tetrahedral formation with separations of 160 km. During Phase 1 the separation will be reduced in steps to 10 km and then adjusted to the separation that is judged to be optimum for reconnection studies. A second scan of the dayside magnetopause will be conducted at this optimum separation. Then apogee will be raised to 25 RE for a scan of the magnetotail with separations variable from 30 km to 400 km. Throughout the mission the payload will be operated at its maximum data rate, which is sufficient to investigate reconnection down to approximately the electron diffusion length scale with full 3D plasma electron distributions obtained in 30 ms, ion distributions at 150 ms, and magnetic and electric fields at 1 ms resolution. 3D plasma and energetic ion composition an energetic electron measurements along with plasma waves will also be made. The spacecraft potential is maintained below +4V by an ion emitter. Because of the large amount

  6. A Contracting Island Mechanism for Electron Acceleration during Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drake, James; Swisdak, M.; Che, H.; Shay, M. A.

    2007-05-01

    A Fermi-like model for energetic electron production during magnetic reconnection is described that explains key observations in the magnetosphere and solar corona [1]. Magnetic reconnection with a guide field leads to the growth and dynamics of multiple magnetic islands rather than a single large x-line. Above a critical energy electron acceleration is dominated by the Fermi-like reflection of electrons within the resulting magnetic islands rather than by the parallel electric fields associated with the x-line. Particles trapped within islands gain energy as they reflect from ends of contracting magnetic islands. The pressure from energetic electrons rises rapidly until the rate of electron energy gain balances the rate of magnetic energy release, establishing for the first time a link between the energy gain of electrons and the released magnetic energy. The energetic particle pressure therefore throttles the rate of reconnection. A transport equation for the distribution of energetic particles, including their feedback on island contraction, is obtained by averaging over the particle interaction with many islands. The steady state solutions in reconnection geometry result from convective losses balancing the Fermi drive. At high energy distribution functions take the form of a powerlaw whose spectral index depends only on the initial electron β, lower (higher) β producing harder (softer) spectra. The spectral index matches that seen in recent Wind spacecraft observations in the magnetotail. Harder spectra are predicted for the low β conditions of the solar corona. 1. Drake et al., Nature 443, 553, 2006.

  7. Evolution of field line helicity during magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Russell, A. J. B. Hornig, G.; Wilmot-Smith, A. L.; Yeates, A. R.

    2015-03-15

    We investigate the evolution of field line helicity for magnetic fields that connect two boundaries without null points, with emphasis on localized finite-B magnetic reconnection. Total (relative) magnetic helicity is already recognized as an important topological constraint on magnetohydrodynamic processes. Field line helicity offers further advantages because it preserves all topological information and can distinguish between different magnetic fields with the same total helicity. Magnetic reconnection changes field connectivity and field line helicity reflects these changes; the goal of this paper is to characterize that evolution. We start by deriving the evolution equation for field line helicity and examining its terms, also obtaining a simplified form for cases where dynamics are localized within the domain. The main result, which we support using kinematic examples, is that during localized reconnection in a complex magnetic field, the evolution of field line helicity is dominated by a work-like term that is evaluated at the field line endpoints, namely, the scalar product of the generalized field line velocity and the vector potential. Furthermore, the flux integral of this term over certain areas is very small compared to the integral of the unsigned quantity, which indicates that changes of field line helicity happen in a well-organized pairwise manner. It follows that reconnection is very efficient at redistributing helicity in complex magnetic fields despite having little effect on the total helicity.

  8. The plasmoid instability during asymmetric inflow magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murphy, Nicholas A.; Young, Aleida K.; Shen, Chengcai; Lin, Jun; Ni, Lei

    2013-06-01

    Theoretical studies of the plasmoid instability generally assume that the reconnecting magnetic fields are symmetric. We relax this assumption by performing two-dimensional resistive magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the plasmoid instability during asymmetric inflow magnetic reconnection. Magnetic asymmetry modifies the onset, scaling, and dynamics of this instability. Magnetic islands develop preferentially into the weak magnetic field upstream region. Outflow jets from individual X-points impact plasmoids obliquely rather than directly as in the symmetric case. Consequently, deposition of momentum by the outflow jets into the plasmoids is less efficient, the plasmoids develop net vorticity, and shear flow slows down secondary merging between islands. Secondary merging events have asymmetry along both the inflow and outflow directions. Downstream plasma is more turbulent in cases with magnetic asymmetry because islands are able to roll around each other after exiting the current sheet. As in the symmetric case, plasmoid formation facilitates faster reconnection for at least small and moderate magnetic asymmetries. However, when the upstream magnetic field strengths differ by a factor of 4, the reconnection rate plateaus at a lower value than expected from scaling the symmetric results. We perform a parameter study to investigate the onset of the plasmoid instability as a function of magnetic asymmetry and domain size. There exist domain sizes for which symmetric simulations are stable but asymmetric simulations are unstable, suggesting that moderate magnetic asymmetry is somewhat destabilizing. We discuss the implications for plasmoid and flux rope formation in solar eruptions, laboratory reconnection experiments, and space plasmas. The differences between symmetric and asymmetric simulations provide some hints regarding the nature of the three-dimensional plasmoid instability.

  9. The plasmoid instability during asymmetric inflow magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Murphy, Nicholas A.; Young, Aleida K.; Shen, Chengcai; Lin, Jun; Ni, Lei

    2013-06-15

    Theoretical studies of the plasmoid instability generally assume that the reconnecting magnetic fields are symmetric. We relax this assumption by performing two-dimensional resistive magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the plasmoid instability during asymmetric inflow magnetic reconnection. Magnetic asymmetry modifies the onset, scaling, and dynamics of this instability. Magnetic islands develop preferentially into the weak magnetic field upstream region. Outflow jets from individual X-points impact plasmoids obliquely rather than directly as in the symmetric case. Consequently, deposition of momentum by the outflow jets into the plasmoids is less efficient, the plasmoids develop net vorticity, and shear flow slows down secondary merging between islands. Secondary merging events have asymmetry along both the inflow and outflow directions. Downstream plasma is more turbulent in cases with magnetic asymmetry because islands are able to roll around each other after exiting the current sheet. As in the symmetric case, plasmoid formation facilitates faster reconnection for at least small and moderate magnetic asymmetries. However, when the upstream magnetic field strengths differ by a factor of 4, the reconnection rate plateaus at a lower value than expected from scaling the symmetric results. We perform a parameter study to investigate the onset of the plasmoid instability as a function of magnetic asymmetry and domain size. There exist domain sizes for which symmetric simulations are stable but asymmetric simulations are unstable, suggesting that moderate magnetic asymmetry is somewhat destabilizing. We discuss the implications for plasmoid and flux rope formation in solar eruptions, laboratory reconnection experiments, and space plasmas. The differences between symmetric and asymmetric simulations provide some hints regarding the nature of the three-dimensional plasmoid instability.

  10. Magnetic Reconnection: A Fundamental Process in Space Plasmas

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hesse, Michael

    2010-01-01

    For many years, collisionless magnetic reconnect ion has been recognized as a fundamental process, which facilitates plasma transport and energy release in systems ranging from the astrophysical plasmas to magnetospheres and even laboratory plasma. Beginning with work addressing solar dynamics, it has been understood that reconnection is essential to explain solar eruptions, the interaction of the solar wind with the magnetosphere, and the dynamics of the magnetosphere. Accordingly, the process of magnetic reconnection has been and remains a prime target for space-based and laboratory studies, as well as for theoretical research. Much progress has been made throughout the years, beginning with indirect verifications by studies of processes enabled by reconnection, such as Coronal Mass Ejections, Flux Transfer Events, and Plasmoids. Theoretical advances have accompanied these observations, moving knowledge beyond the Sweet-Parker theory to the recognition that other, collisionless, effects are available and likely to support much faster reconnect ion rates. At the present time we are therefore near a break-through in our understanding of how collisionless reconnect ion works. Theory and modeling have advanced to the point that two competing theories are considered leading candidates for explaining the microphysics of this process. Both theories predict very small spatial and temporal scales. which are. to date, inaccessible to space-based or laboratory measurements. The need to understand magnetic reconnect ion has led NASA to begin the implementation of a tailored mission, Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS), a four spacecraft cluster equipped to resolve all relevant spatial and temporal scales. In this presentation, we present an overview of current knowledge as well as an outlook towards measurements provided by MMS.

  11. Understanding the Global Characteristics of Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sibeck, David; Wang, Chi; Branduardi-Raymont, Graziella; Connor, Hyunju; Walsh, Brian

    2016-07-01

    Reconnection is the fundamental process governing the flow of mass, energy, and momentum through the Sun-Earth system. Single and multipoint in situ observations of the Earth's dayside magnetopause have been interpreted as evidence for steady or transient, localized or extended, component or antiparallel reconnection models for the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth's magnetosphere. Satellite and ground-based images of the dayside auroral ionosphere can help distinguish between these possibilities. However, routine observations of the magnetopause motion that occurs in response to the various modes of reconnection would immediately define the significance of each reconnection mode. Recent technological advances now afford an opportunity to track the location of the entire dayside magnetopause and its extension into the dayside cusps in the soft x-rays emitted when high charge state solar wind ions exchange electrons with exospheric neutrals and emit soft X-rays. This talk presents some of the scientific objectives of forthcoming soft X-ray missions that will look upward from low altitudes into the Earth's cusps and downward from high inclination orbits into the dayside magnetosheath. It shows how the observations can be used to distinguish between proposed models.

  12. Emergence of undulatory magnetic flux tubes by small scale reconnections

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pariat, E.; Aulanier, G.; Schmieder, B.; Georgoulis, M. K.; Rust, D. M.; Bernasconi, P. N.

    2006-01-01

    With Flare Genesis Experiment (FGE), a balloon borne observatory launched in Antarctica on January 2000, series of high spatial resolution vector magnetograms, Dopplergrams, and Hα filtergrams have been obtained in an emerging active region (AR 8844). Previous analyses of this data revealed the occurence of many short-lived and small-scale H α brightenings called 'Ellerman bombs' (EBs) within the AR. We performed an extrapolation of the field above the photosphere using the linear force-free field approximation. The analysis of the magnetic topology reveals a close connexion between the loci of EBs and the existence of "Bald patches" (BP) regions (BPs are regions where the vector magnetic field is tangential to the photosphere). Some of these EBs/BPs are magnetically connected by low-lying field lines, presenting a serpentine shape. This results leads us to conjecture that arch filament systems and active regions coronal loops do not result from the smooth emergence of large scale Ω-loops, but rather from the rise of flat undulatory flux tubes which get released from their photospheric anchorage by reconnection at BPs, which observational signature is Ellerman bombs.

  13. Fluid vs. kinetic magnetic reconnection with strong guide fields

    SciTech Connect

    Stanier, A. Simakov, Andrei N.; Chacón, L.; Daughton, W.

    2015-10-15

    The fast rates of magnetic reconnection found in both nature and experiments are important to understand theoretically. Recently, it was demonstrated that two-fluid magnetic reconnection remains fast in the strong guide field regime, regardless of the presence of fast-dispersive waves. This conclusion is in agreement with recent results from kinetic simulations, and is in contradiction to the findings in an earlier two-fluid study, where it was suggested that fast-dispersive waves are necessary for fast reconnection. In this paper, we give a more detailed derivation of the analytic model presented in a recent letter and present additional simulation results to support the conclusions that the magnetic reconnection rate in this regime is independent of both collisional dissipation and system-size. In particular, we present a detailed comparison between fluid and kinetic simulations, finding good agreement in both the reconnection rate and overall length of the current layer. Finally, we revisit the earlier two-fluid study, which arrived at different conclusions, and suggest an alternative interpretation for the numerical results presented therein.

  14. Fluid vs. kinetic magnetic reconnection with strong guide fields

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stanier, A.; Simakov, Andrei N.; Chacón, L.; Daughton, W.

    2015-10-01

    The fast rates of magnetic reconnection found in both nature and experiments are important to understand theoretically. Recently, it was demonstrated that two-fluid magnetic reconnection remains fast in the strong guide field regime, regardless of the presence of fast-dispersive waves. This conclusion is in agreement with recent results from kinetic simulations, and is in contradiction to the findings in an earlier two-fluid study, where it was suggested that fast-dispersive waves are necessary for fast reconnection. In this paper, we give a more detailed derivation of the analytic model presented in a recent letter and present additional simulation results to support the conclusions that the magnetic reconnection rate in this regime is independent of both collisional dissipation and system-size. In particular, we present a detailed comparison between fluid and kinetic simulations, finding good agreement in both the reconnection rate and overall length of the current layer. Finally, we revisit the earlier two-fluid study, which arrived at different conclusions, and suggest an alternative interpretation for the numerical results presented therein.

  15. Energy balance in the course of relativistic magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Semenov, V. S.; Tolstykh, Yu. V.; Dyadechkin, S. A.

    Magnetic reconnection plays an important role in space physics, for example, in Earth's magnetosphere, on the Sun, in the magnetospheres of magnetars, pulsars, black holes, etc. Reconnection starts with abrupt drop of plasma conductivity in a small part of a current sheet, so called, diffusion region. As a result electric field is generated and is transferred by relativistic MHD surface wave from the diffusion region to the current sheet which leads to decay of the disturbed part of the current sheet into a system of slow shocks. Plasma is highly accelerated and heated at the shock fronts forming outflow region with relativistic plasma jets and weak magnetic field (Semenov & Bernikov 1991). At some stage the reconnection process has to switch-off, then outflow regions must detach from the site where the electric field was initiated, and propagate along the current sheet as solitary waves (Tolstykh et al. 2005). The energy balance of relativistic reconnection is investigated in details. It is shown that magnetic and thermal energy from the inflow region is spent for acceleration and heating of the plasma in jets. It is interesting that the temperature of the plasma in the wake of the propagating outflow regions drops after each pulse of reconnection. This differ from usual explosion which heats the plasma behind the shock front (Tolstykh et al. 2007).

  16. Origins of effective resistivity in collisionless magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Singh, Nagendra

    2014-07-15

    The mechanisms that provide effective resistivity for supporting collisonless magnetic reconnection have remained unsettled despite numerous studies. Some of these studies demonstrated that the electron pressure nongyrotropy generates the resistivity (η{sub npg}) in the electron diffusion region (EDR). We derive an analytical relation for the effective resistivity (η{sub kin}) by momentum balance in a control volume in the EDR. Both η{sub npg} and η{sub kin} mutually compare well and they also compare well with the resistivity required to support reconnection electric field E{sub rec} in multi-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations as well as in satellite observations when reconnection occurs in an EDR. But they are about an order of magnitude or so smaller than that required when the reconnection occurred in a much wider reconnecting current sheet (RCS) of half width (w) of the order of the ion skin depth (d{sub i}), observed in the Earth magnetosphere. The chaos-induced resistivity reported in the literature is found to be even more deficient. We find that for reconnection in RCS with w ∼ d{sub i}, anomalous diffusion, such as the universal Bhom diffusion and/or that arising from kinetic Alfven waves, could fairly well account for the required resistivity.

  17. A Fermi model for electron acceleration during magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drake, J. F.; Swisdak, M.; Che, H.; Shay, M. A.

    2006-12-01

    A Fermi-like model for energetic electron production during magnetic reconnection is described that explains key observations in the magnetosphere and solar corona [1]. Magnetic reconnection with a guide field leads to the growth and dynamics of multiple magnetic islands rather than a single large x-line. Above a critical energy electron acceleration is dominated by the Fermi-like reflection of electrons within the resulting magnetic islands rather than by the parallel electric fields associated with the x-line. Particles trapped within islands gain energy as they reflect from ends of contracting magnetic islands. The pressure from energetic electrons rises rapidly until the rate of electron energy gain balances the rate of magnetic energy release. The energetic particle pressure therefore throttles the rate of reconnection. A transport equation for the distribution of energetic particles, including their feedback on island contraction, is obtained by averaging over the particle interaction with many islands. The steady state solutions in reconnection geometry result from convective losses balancing the Fermi drive. At high energy distribution functions take the form of a powerlaw whose spectral index depends only on the initial electron β, lower (higher) β producing harder (softer) spectra. The spectral index matches that seen in recent Wind spacecraft observations in the magnetotail. Harder spectra are predicted for the low β conditions of the solar corona. 1. Drake et al., Nature, in press.

  18. Slow shock formation and temperature anisotropy in collisionless magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Higashimori, K.; Hoshino, M.

    2011-12-01

    We perform a two-dimensional simulation by using an electromagnetic hybrid code to study the formation of slow-mode shocks in collisionless magnetic reconnection in low beta plasmas, and we argue that one of important agents of the formation of slow shocks is the ion temperature anisotropy enhanced at the shock downstream region. As magnetic reconnection develops, it is known that the parallel temperature along the magnetic field becomes large in association with the anisotropic PSBL ion beams, and this temperature anisotropy has a tendency to suppress the formation of slow shock. Although preceding studies on magnetic reconnection with kinetic codes have shown such ion temperature anisotropy along the reconnection layer, the direct relation between formation of slow shocks and the ion temperature anisotropy has not been investigated. Based on our simulation result, we found that the slow shock formation is suppressed due to the large temperature anisotropy near the X-type region, but the downstream ion temperature anisotropy relaxes with increasing the distance from the magnetic neutral point. As a result, two pairs of current structures, which are the strong evidence of dissipation of magnetic field in slow shocks, are formed at the distance |x| > 115 λ i from the neutral point.

  19. Magnetic Reconnection in the Interior of Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fermo, R. L.; Opher, M.; Drake, J. F.

    2014-07-01

    Recent in situ observations of interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) found signatures of reconnection exhausts in their interior or trailing edge. Whereas reconnection on the leading edge of an ICME would indicate an interaction with the coronal or interplanetary environment, this result suggests that the internal magnetic field reconnects with itself. In light of this data, we consider the stability properties of flux ropes first developed in the context of astrophysics, then further elaborated upon in the context of reversed field pinches (RFPs). It was shown that the lowest energy state of a flux rope corresponds to ∇×B=λB with λ a constant, the so-called Taylor state. Variations from this state will result in the magnetic field trying to reorient itself into the Taylor state solution, subject to the constraints that the toroidal flux and magnetic helicity are invariant. In reversed field pinches, this relaxation is mediated by the reconnection of the magnetic field, resulting in a sawtooth crash. If we likewise treat the ICME as a flux rope, any deviation from the Taylor state will result in reconnection within the interior of the flux tube, in agreement with the observations by Gosling et al. Such a departure from the Taylor state takes place as the flux tube cross section expands in the latitudinal direction, as seen in magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of flux tubes propagating through the interplanetary medium. We show analytically that this elongation results in a state which is no longer in the minimum energy Taylor state. We then present magnetohydrodynamic simulations of an elongated flux tube which has evolved away from the Taylor state and show that reconnection at many surfaces produces a complex stochastic magnetic field as the system evolves back to a minimum energy state configuration.

  20. Energetic ion acceleration during magnetic reconnection in the Earth's magnetotail

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Imada, Shinsuke; Hirai, Mariko; Hoshino, Masahiro

    2015-12-01

    In this paper, we present a comprehensive study of the energetic ion acceleration during magnetic reconnection in the Earth's magnetosphere using the Geotail data. A clear example of the energetic ion acceleration up to 1 MeV around an X-type neutral line is shown. We find that the energetic ions are localized at far downstream of reconnection outflow. The time variation of energetic ion and electron is almost the same. We observe ˜100 keV ions over the entire observation period. We study ten events in which the Geotail satellite observed in the vicinity of diffusion region in order to understand the reconnection characteristics that determine the energetic ion acceleration efficiency. We find that the reconnection electric field, total amount of reduced magnetic energy, reconnection rate, satellite location in the Earth's magnetosphere (both X GSM and Y GSM) show high correlation with energetic ion acceleration efficiency. Also, ion temperature, electron temperature, ion/electron temperature ratio, current sheet thickness, and electric field normal to the neutral sheet show low correlation. We do not find any correlation with absolute value of outflow velocity and current density parallel to magnetic field. The energetic ion acceleration efficiency is well correlated with large-scale parameters (e.g., total amount of reduced magnetic energy and satellite location), whereas the energetic electron acceleration efficiency is correlated with small-scale parameters (e.g., current sheet thickness and electric field normal to the neutral sheet). We conclude that the spatial size of magnetic reconnection is important for energetic ion acceleration in the Earth's magnetotail.

  1. The Driving Magnetic Field and Reconnection in CME/Flare Eruptions and Coronal Jets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moore, Ronald L.

    2010-01-01

    Signatures of reconnection in major CME (coronal mass ejection)/flare eruptions and in coronal X-ray jets are illustrated and interpreted. The signatures are magnetic field lines and their feet that brighten in flare emission. CME/flare eruptions are magnetic explosions in which: 1. The field that erupts is initially a closed arcade. 2. At eruption onset, most of the free magnetic energy to be released is not stored in field bracketing a current sheet, but in sheared field in the core of the arcade. 3. The sheared core field erupts by a process that from its start or soon after involves fast "tether-cutting" reconnection at an initially small current sheet low in the sheared core field. If the arcade has oppositely-directed field over it, the eruption process from its start or soon after also involves fast "breakout" reconnection at an initially small current sheet between the arcade and the overarching field. These aspects are shown by the small area of the bright field lines and foot-point flare ribbons in the onset of the eruption. 4. At either small current sheet, the fast reconnection progressively unleashes the erupting core field to erupt with progressively greater force. In turn, the erupting core field drives the current sheet to become progressively larger and to undergo progressively greater fast reconnection in the explosive phase of the eruption, and the flare arcade and ribbons grow to become comparable to the pre-eruption arcade in lateral extent. In coronal X-ray jets: 1. The magnetic energy released in the jet is built up by the emergence of a magnetic arcade into surrounding unipolar "open" field. 2. A simple jet is produced when a burst of reconnection occurs at the current sheet between the arcade and the open field. This produces a bright reconnection jet and a bright reconnection arcade that are both much smaller in diameter that the driving arcade. 3. A more complex jet is produced when the arcade has a sheared core field and undergoes an

  2. Asymmetric evolution of magnetic reconnection in collisionless accretion disk

    SciTech Connect

    Shirakawa, Keisuke Hoshino, Masahiro

    2014-05-15

    An evolution of a magnetic reconnection in a collisionless accretion disk is investigated using a 2.5 dimensional hybrid code simulation. In astrophysical disks, magnetorotational instability (MRI) is considered to play an important role by generating turbulence in the disk and contributes to an effective angular momentum transport through a turbulent viscosity. Magnetic reconnection, on the other hand, also plays an important role on the evolution of the disk through a dissipation of a magnetic field enhanced by a dynamo effect of MRI. In this study, we developed a hybrid code to calculate an evolution of a differentially rotating system. With this code, we first confirmed a linear growth of MRI. We also investigated a behavior of a particular structure of a current sheet, which would exist in the turbulence in the disk. From the calculation of the magnetic reconnection, we found an asymmetric structure in the out-of-plane magnetic field during the evolution of reconnection, which can be understood by a coupling of the Hall effect and the differential rotation. We also found a migration of X-point whose direction is determined only by an initial sign of J{sub 0}×Ω{sub 0}, where J{sub 0} is the initial current density in the neutral sheet and Ω{sub 0} is the rotational vector of the background Keplerian rotation. Associated with the migration of X-point, we also found a significant enhancement of the perpendicular magnetic field compared to an ordinary MRI. MRI-Magnetic reconnection coupling and the resulting magnetic field enhancement can be an effective process to sustain a strong turbulence in the accretion disk and to a transport of angular momentum.

  3. Effects of electron inertia in collisionless magnetic reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Andrés, Nahuel Gómez, Daniel; Martin, Luis; Dmitruk, Pablo

    2014-07-15

    We present a study of collisionless magnetic reconnection within the framework of full two-fluid MHD for a completely ionized hydrogen plasma, retaining the effects of the Hall current, electron pressure and electron inertia. We performed 2.5D simulations using a pseudo-spectral code with no dissipative effects. We check that the ideal invariants of the problem are conserved down to round-off errors. Our numerical results confirm that the change in the topology of the magnetic field lines is exclusively due to the presence of electron inertia. The computed reconnection rates remain a fair fraction of the Alfvén velocity, which therefore qualifies as fast reconnection.

  4. Effects of electron inertia in collisionless magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andrés, Nahuel; Martin, Luis; Dmitruk, Pablo; Gómez, Daniel

    2014-07-01

    We present a study of collisionless magnetic reconnection within the framework of full two-fluid MHD for a completely ionized hydrogen plasma, retaining the effects of the Hall current, electron pressure and electron inertia. We performed 2.5D simulations using a pseudo-spectral code with no dissipative effects. We check that the ideal invariants of the problem are conserved down to round-off errors. Our numerical results confirm that the change in the topology of the magnetic field lines is exclusively due to the presence of electron inertia. The computed reconnection rates remain a fair fraction of the Alfvén velocity, which therefore qualifies as fast reconnection.

  5. Three-Dimensional Modeling of Guide-Field Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hesse, Michael

    2005-01-01

    The dissipation mechanism of guide field magnetic reconnection remains a subject of intense scientific interest. On one hand, one set of recent studies have shown that particle inertia-based processes, which include thermal and bulk inertial effects, provide the reconnection electric field in the diffusion region. On the other hand, a second set of studies emphasizes the role of wave-particle interactions in providing anomalous resistivity in the diffusion region. In this presentation, we analyze three-dimensional PIC simulations of guide-field magnetic reconnection. Specific emphasis will be on the question whether thermal-inertia processes, mediated by the electron pressure tensor, remain a viable dissipation mechanism in fully three-dimensional systems.

  6. Magnetic topology change induced by reconnection events in RFP plasmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Momo, Barbara; Martines, Emilio; Innocente, Paolo; Lorenzini, Rita; Rea, Cristina; Zanca, Paolo; Zuin, Matteo

    2014-10-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a phenomena observed in various plasmas across the Universe, where a conversion of magnetic to kinetic energy of plasma particles is consequent to a change in the global magnetic topology. In laboratory plasmas magnetic reconnections are associated to relaxation processes, like sawtooth crashes in Tokamak dynamics and the so-called dynamo effect in Reversed Filed Pinches (RFPs). In this work we propose the study of magnetic crashes in RFP dynamics, where the recursive transition from a more ordered helical state to a chaotic one is associated with rapid magnetic reconnection events. More into details, we propose to analyse RFX-mod discharges reconstructing the magnetic topology in the whole plasma volume at fixed time snapshots. Times are chosen in a window around the crashes, and the magnetic topology is reconstructed by using the solutions of a Newcomb-type equation, solved consistently with experimental boundary conditions. New boundary conditions are given by internal magnetic measurements coming from the ISIS probe system, in order to detect high frequency dynamics. Poincaré plots are used as a tool for the visualization of magnetic topology changes.

  7. The Theory of Magnetic Reconnection: Past, Present, and Future

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassak, P. A.

    2008-05-01

    Magnetic reconnection underlies the energy release observed in eruptive events in the solar corona (such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections) and in the Earth's magnetosphere. The theory of magnetic reconnection was originally developed to understand observations by Ron Giovanelli, who discovered that solar flares occur where the coronal magnetic field changes directions. Pioneers in space plasma theory such as James Dungey, Peter Sweet, Eugene Parker, and Harry Petschek first elucidated the underlying physical effects that lead to this massive energy release. Since then, much effort has been made to understand what process or processes cause magnetic reconnection to be fast enough to be consistent with observations, such as anomalous resistivity, secondary instabilities, and the Hall effect. However, a thorough understanding of this important process remains a topic of intense study. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Parker's paper predicting the high-speed solar wind, this talk will review the history of the theory of magnetic reconnection. The present status of the field will be discussed, and remaining unanswered questions will be summarized.

  8. The Onset of Magnetic Reconnection in Tail-Like Equilibria

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hesse, Michael; Birn, Joachim; Kuznetsova, Masha

    1999-01-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental mode of dynamics in the magnetotail, and is recognized as the basic mechanisms converting stored magnetic energy into kinetic energy of plasma particles. The effects of the reconnection process are well documented by spacecraft observations of plasmoids in the distant magnetotail, or bursty bulk flows, and magnetic field dipolarizations in the near Earth region. Theoretical and numerical analyses have, in recent years, shed new light on the way reconnection operates, and, in particular, which microscopic mechanism supports the dissipative electric field in the associated diffusion region. Despite this progress, however. the question of how magnetic reconnection initiates in a tail-like magnetic field with finite flux threading the current i.sheet remains unanswered. Instead, theoretical studies supported by numerical simulations support the point-of-view that such plasma and current sheets are stable with respect to collisionless tearing mode. In this paper, we will further investigate this conclusion, with emphasis on the question whether it remains valid in plasma sheets with embedded thin current sheets. For this purpose, we perform particle-in-cell simulations of the driven formation of thin current sheets, and their subsequent evolution either to equilibrium or to instability of a tearing-type mode. In the latter case we will pay particular attention to the nature of the electric field contribution which unmagnetizes the electrons.

  9. Study of Energy Conversion and Partitioning in the Magnetic Reconnection Layer in Laboratory and Space Plasmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamada, M.

    2014-12-01

    The essential feature of magnetic reconnection is that it energizes plasma particles by converting magnetic energy to particle energy [1]. This talk addresses this key unresolved question; how is magnetic energy converted to plasma kinetic energy during reconnection? The mechanisms responsible for the energization of plasma particles in the magnetic reconnection layer have been investigated in the MRX device together with quantitative evaluation of conversion of magnetic energy to ions and electrons. An analysis is made in terms of two-fluid physics based on the measurements of two-dimensional profiles of 1) electric potential, 2) flow vectors of electrons and ions, and 3) the electron temperature, Te and the ion temperature, Ti in the layer [2,3]. It is shown that more than 50 % of magnetic energy is converted to plasma particles, of which 2/3 transferred to ions and 1/3 to electrons, at a remarkably fast speed (~0.2VA) in the reconnection layer [3]. In a reconnection region of effectively similar size in the Earth's magnetotail, the energy partition was recently measured during multiple passages of the Cluster satellites [4]. The half length of the tail reconnection layer (L) was estimated to be 2000-4000 km namely 3-6di; the scale length is very similar to the MRX case, L ~ 3di. Reconnection in the magneto-tail is driven by an external force, i.e., the solar wind, and the boundary conditions are very similar to the MRX setup. The observed energy partition is notably similar, namely, more than 50% of the magnetic energy flux is converted to the particle energy flux, which is dominated by the ion enthalpy flux, with smaller contributions from the electron enthalpy and heat flux. A broad implication will be discussed. Work supported by DOE, NASA, and NSF. Fig.1: Measured ion flow vectors in the reconnection plane with measured 2-D profile of the plasma potential φ_p. The thin lines are measured poloidal flux counters.[1] M. Yamada, R. Kulsrud, & H. Ji, Rev. Mod

  10. Velocity-Shear Driven Magnetic Reconnection in Particle-In-Cell Simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Black, Carrie; Antiochos, Spiro; DeVore, Rick; Karpen, Judy; Germaschewski, Kai

    2012-10-01

    In the standard model for coronal mass ejections (CME) and/or solar flares, the free energy for the event resides in the strongly sheared magnetic field of a filament channel. The pre-eruption force balance consists of an upward force due to the magnetic pressure of the sheared field balanced by a downward tension due to overlying un-sheared field. Magnetic reconnection is widely believed to be the mechanism that disrupts this force balance, leading to explosive eruption. For understanding CME/flare initiation, therefore, it is critical to model the onset of reconnection that is driven by the buildup of magnetic shear. In MHD simulations, the application of a magnetic field shear is a trivial matter. However, kinetic effects are important in the diffusion region and thus, it is important to examine this process with PIC simulations as well. The implementation of such a driver in PIC methods is nontrivial: it must be done in a self-consistent manner that avoids the generation of waves that destroy the applied shear. In this work, we discuss methods for applying a velocity shear perpendicular to the plane of reconnection within a 2.5D, aperiodic, PIC system. We also discuss the implementation of boundary conditions that allow a net electric current to flow through the walls.

  11. Effect of electron inertia in two-fluid magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gomez, Daniel; Dmitruk, Pablo; Andrés, Nahuel

    2016-07-01

    In space plasmas, magnetic reconnection is an important energy conversion process. Within the traditional one-fluid resistive MHD description, the Sweet-Parker model leads to extremely low reconnection rates for virtually all space physics applications. Within the theoretical framework of two-fluid MHD, we retain the effects of the Hall current and electron inertia and neglect dissipative effects such as viscosity and electric resistivity. This description brings two new spatial scales into play, such as the ion and electron inertial lengths. In absence of resistive dissipation, reconnection can only be attained by the action of electron inertia. We performed two-fluid simulations using a pseudo-spectral code which yields exact conservation (to round-off errors) of the ideal invariants. Our simulations show that when the effects of electron inertia are retained, magnetic reconnection takes place. Moreover, in a stationary regime the reconnection rate is simply proportional to the ion inertial length, as also emerges from a scaling law derived from dimensional arguments.

  12. The plasmoid instability and Hall effect during chromospheric magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murphy, Nicholas Arnold; Lukin, Vyacheslav

    2016-01-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a ubiquitous process in the partially ionized solar chromosphere. Recent two-dimensional simulations have shown that the plasmoid instability onsets during partially ionized reconnection [1-4]. We use the plasma-neutral module of the HiFi framework to simulate the nonlinear evolution of the plasmoid instability during symmetric and asymmetric reconnection. These simulations model the plasma and neutrals as separate fluids and include ionization, recombination, charge exchange, thermal conduction, and the Hall effect. The Hall effect leads to the development of significant out-of-plane magnetic fields in the current sheet region in the laminar phase, but we do not observe shortening of the current sheet or significant acceleration of the reconnection rate as a result. After the onset of the plasmoid instability, structure develops on scales comparable to the ion inertial length. We compare simulations of the plasmoid instability with and without the Hall effect to determine its impact on the reconnection process. Finally, we discuss ongoing efforts to connect these simulations with solar observations and laboratory experiments.[1] Leake et al. 2012, ApJ, 760, 109 [2] Leake et al. 2013, PhPl, 20, 062102 [3] Ni et al. 2015, ApJ, 799, 79 [4] Murphy & Lukin 2015, ApJ, 805, 134

  13. Emergence of undulatory magnetic flux tubes by small scale reconnections

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pariat, E.; Aulanier, G.; Schmieder, B.; Georgoulis, M. K.; Rust, D. M.; Bernasconi, P. N.

    With Flare Genesis Experiment (FGE), a balloon borne observatory launched in Antarctica on January 2000, series of high spatial resolution vector magnetograms, Dopplergrams, and Hα filtergrams have been obtained in an emerging active region (AR 8844). Previous analyses of this data revealed the occurence of many short-lived and small-scale Hα brightenings called 'Ellerman bombs' (EBs) within the AR. We performed an extrapolation of the field above the photosphere using the linear force-free field approximation. The analysis of the magnetic topology reveals a close connexion between the loci of EBs and the existence of ``Bald patches'' regions (BPs are regions where the vector magnetic field is tangential to the photosphere). Among 47 identified EBs, we found that 23 are co-spatial with a BP, while 19 are located at the footpoint of very flat separatrix field lines passing throught a distant BP. We reveal for the first time that some of these EBs/BPs are magneticaly connected by low-lying lines, presenting a 'sea-serpent' shape. This results leads us to conjecture that arch filament systems and active regions coronal loops do not result from the smooth emergence of large scale Ω loops, but rather from the rise of flat undulatory flux tubes which get released from their photospheric anchorage by reconnection at BPs, whose observational signature is Ellerman bombs.

  14. Magnetic reconnection in the solar atmosphere: from proposal to paradigm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cargill, Peter; Parnell, Clare; Browning, Philippa; de Moortel, Ineke; Hood, Alan

    2010-06-01

    MEETING REPORT On 13 November 2009, the RAS hosted a discussion meeting to commemorate the formal retirement of Prof. Eric Priest. Here Peter Cargill, Clare Parnell, Philippa Browning, Ineke de Moortel and Alan Hood examine how magnetic reconnection has evolved over the past 50 years from an important but controversial proposal, to a general paradigm.

  15. Magnetic topologies of coronal mass ejection events: Effects of 3-dimensional reconnection

    SciTech Connect

    Gosling, J.T.

    1995-09-01

    New magnetic loops formed in the corona following coronal mass ejection, CME, liftoffs provide strong evidence that magnetic reconnection commonly occurs within the magnetic ``legs`` of the departing CMEs. Such reconnection is inherently 3-dimensional and naturally produces CMEs having magnetic flux rope topologies. Sustained reconnection behind CMEs can produce a mixture of open and disconnected field lines threading the CMES. In contrast to the results of 2-dimensional reconnection. the disconnected field lines are attached to the outer heliosphere at both ends. A variety of solar and solar wind observations are consistent with the concept of sustained 3-dimensional reconnection within the magnetic legs of CMEs close to the Sun.

  16. Multiscale dynamics based on kinetic simulation of collisionless magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fujimoto, Keizo; Takamoto, Makoto

    2016-07-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a natural energy converter which allows explosive energy release of the magnetic field energy into plasma kinetic energy. The reconnection processes inherently involve multi-scale process. The breaking of the field lines takes place predominantly in a small region called the diffusion region formed near the x-line, while the fast plasma jets resulting from reconnection extend to a distance far beyond the ion kinetic scales from the x-line. There has been a significant gap in understanding of macro-scale and micro-scale processes. The macro-scale model of reconnection has been developed using the magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) equations, while the micro-scale processes around the x-line have been based on kinetic equations including the ion and electron inertia. The problem is that these two kinds of model have significant discrepancies. It has been believed without any guarantee that the microscopic model near the x-line would connect to the macroscopic model far downstream of the x-line. In order to bridge the gap between the macro and micro-scale processes, we have performed large-scale particle-in-cell simulations with the adaptive mesh refinement. The simulation results suggest that the microscopic processes around the x-line do not connect to the previous MHD model even in the region far downstream of the x-line. The slow mode shocks and the associated plasma acceleration do not appear at the exhaust boundary of kinetic reconnection. Instead, the ions are accelerated due to the Speiser motion in the current layer extending to a distance beyond the kinetic scales. The different acceleration mechanisms between the ions and electrons lead to the Hall current system in broad area of the exhaust. Therefore, the previous MHD model could be inappropriate for collisionless magnetic reconnection. Ref. K. Fujimoto & M. Takamoto, Phys. Plasmas, 23, 012903 (2016).

  17. Magnetic reconnection, buoyancy, and flapping motions in magnetotail explosions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sitnov, M. I.; Merkin, V. G.; Swisdak, M.; Motoba, T.; Buzulukova, N.; Moore, T. E.; Mauk, B. H.; Ohtani, S.

    2014-09-01

    A key process in the interaction of magnetospheres with the solar wind is the explosive release of energy stored in the magnetotail. Based on observational evidence, magnetic reconnection is widely believed to be responsible. However, the very possibility of spontaneous reconnection in collisionless magnetotail plasmas has been questioned in kinetic theory for more than three decades. In addition, in situ observations by multispacecraft missions (e.g., THEMIS) reveal the development of buoyancy and flapping motions coexisting with reconnection. Never before have kinetic simulations reproduced all three primary modes in realistic 2-D configurations with a finite normal magnetic field. Moreover, 3-D simulations with closed boundaries suggest that the tail activity is dominated by buoyancy-driven instabilities, whereas reconnection is a secondary effect strongly localized in the dawn-dusk direction. In this paper, we use massively parallel 3-D fully kinetic simulations with open boundaries to show that sufficiently far from the planet explosive processes in the tail are dominated by reconnection motions. These motions occur in the form of spontaneously generated dipolarization fronts accompanied by changes in magnetic topology which extend in the dawn-dusk direction over the size of the simulation box, suggesting that reconnection onset causes a macroscale reconfiguration of the real magnetotail. In our simulations, buoyancy and flapping motions significantly disturb the primary dipolarization front but neither destroy it nor change the near 2-D picture of the front evolution critically. Consistent with recent multiprobe observations, dipolarization fronts are also found to be the main regions of energy conversion in the magnetotail.

  18. Fast Magnetic Reconnection in the Plasmoid-Dominated Regime

    SciTech Connect

    Uzdensky, D. A.; Loureiro, N. F.; Schekochihin, A. A.

    2010-12-03

    A conceptual model of resistive magnetic reconnection via a stochastic plasmoid chain is proposed. The global reconnection rate is shown to be independent of the Lundquist number. The distribution of fluxes in the plasmoids is shown to be an inverse-square law. It is argued that there is a finite probability of emergence of abnormally large plasmoids, which can disrupt the chain (and may be responsible for observable large abrupt events in solar flares and sawtooth crashes). A criterion for the transition from the resistive magnetohydrodynamic to the collisionless regime is provided.

  19. Fast magnetic reconnection in the plasmoid-dominated regime.

    PubMed

    Uzdensky, D A; Loureiro, N F; Schekochihin, A A

    2010-12-01

    A conceptual model of resistive magnetic reconnection via a stochastic plasmoid chain is proposed. The global reconnection rate is shown to be independent of the Lundquist number. The distribution of fluxes in the plasmoids is shown to be an inverse-square law. It is argued that there is a finite probability of emergence of abnormally large plasmoids, which can disrupt the chain (and may be responsible for observable large abrupt events in solar flares and sawtooth crashes). A criterion for the transition from the resistive magnetohydrodynamic to the collisionless regime is provided. PMID:21231473

  20. Solar flares as cascades of reconnecting magnetic loops.

    PubMed

    Hughes, D; Paczuski, M; Dendy, R O; Helander, P; McClements, K G

    2003-04-01

    A model for the solar coronal magnetic field is proposed where multiple directed loops evolve in space and time. Loops injected at small scales are anchored by footpoints of opposite polarity moving randomly on a surface. Nearby footpoints of the same polarity aggregate, and loops can reconnect when they collide. This may trigger a cascade of further reconnection, representing a solar flare. Numerical simulations show that a power law distribution of flare energies emerges, associated with a scale-free network of loops, indicating self-organized criticality. PMID:12689272

  1. Three-dimensional, Impulsive Magnetic Reconnection in a Laboratory Plasma

    SciTech Connect

    S Dorfman, et al

    2013-05-03

    Impulsive, local, 3-D reconnection is identified for the first time in a laboratory current sheet. The events observed in the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX) are characterized by large local gradients in the third direction and cannot be explained by 2-D models. Detailed measurements show that the ejection of flux rope structures from the current sheet plays a key role in these events. By contrast, even though electromagnetic fluctuations in the lower hybrid frequency range are also observed concurrently with the impulsive behavior, they are not the key physics responsible. A qualitative, 3-D, two-fluid model is proposed to explain the observations. The experimental results may be particularly applicable to space and astrophysical plasmas where impulsive reconnection occurs.

  2. Observational Signatures of Magnetic Reconnection in the Extended Corona

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Savage, Sabrina; West, Matthew; Seaton, Daniel B.; Kobelski, Adam

    2016-05-01

    Observational signatures of reconnection have been studied extensively in the lower corona for decades, successfully providing insight into energy release mechanisms in the region above post-flare arcade loops and below 1.5 solar radii. During large eruptive events, however, energy release continues to occur well beyond the presence of reconnection signatures at these low heights. Supra-arcade downflows (SADs) and downflowing loops (SADLs) are particularly useful measures of continual reconnection in the corona as they may indicate the presence and path of retracting post-reconnection loops. SADs and SADLs have been faintly observed up to 18 hours beyond the passage of corona mass ejections through the SOHO/LASCO field of view, but a recent event from 2014 October 14 associated with giant arches provides very clear observations of these downflows for days after the initial eruption. We report on this unique event and compare these findings with observational signatures of magnetic reconnection in the extended corona for more typical eruptions.

  3. Observational Signatures of Magnetic Reconnection in the Extended Corona

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Savage, Sabrina; West, Matthew J.; Seaton, Daniel B.; Kobelski, Adam

    2016-01-01

    Observational signatures of reconnection have been studied extensively in the lower corona for decades, successfully providing insight into energy release mechanisms in the region above post-flare arcade loops and below 1.5 solar radii. During large eruptive events, however, energy release continues to occur well beyond the presence of reconnection signatures at these low heights. Supra-Arcade Downflows (SADs) and Supra-Arcade Downflowing Loops (SADLs) are particularly useful measures of continual reconnection in the corona as they may indicate the presence and path of retracting post-reconnection loops. SADs and SADLs have been faintly observed up to 18 hours beyond the passage of coronas mass ejections through the SOHO/LASCO field of view, but a recent event from 2014 October 14 associated with giant arches provides very clear observations of these downflows for days after the initial eruption. We report on this unique event and compare these findings with observational signatures of magnetic reconnection in the extended corona for more typical eruptions.

  4. Fast magnetic reconnection due to anisotropic electron pressure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassak, Paul; Baylor, Robert; Fermo, Raymond; Beidler, Matthew; Shay, Michael; Swisdak, Marc; Drake, James; Karimabadi, Homa

    2015-11-01

    A new regime of fast magnetic reconnection with an out-of-plane (guide) magnetic field is reported in which the key role is played by an electron pressure anisotropy described by the Chew-Goldberger-Low gyrotropic equations of state in the generalized Ohm's law, which even dominates the Hall term. A description of the physical cause of this behavior is provided and two-dimensional fluid simulations are used to confirm the results. The electron pressure anisotropy causes the out-of-plane magnetic field to develop a quadrupole structure of opposite polarity to the Hall magnetic field and gives rise to dispersive waves. In addition to being important for understanding what causes reconnection to be fast, this mechanism should dominate in plasmas with low plasma beta and a high in-plane plasma beta with electron temperature comparable to or larger than ion temperature, so it could be relevant in the solar wind and some tokamaks.

  5. Fast magnetic reconnection due to anisotropic electron pressure

    SciTech Connect

    Cassak, P. A.; Baylor, R. N.; Fermo, R. L.; Beidler, M. T.; Shay, M. A.; Swisdak, M.; Drake, J. F.; Karimabadi, H.

    2015-02-15

    A new regime of fast magnetic reconnection with an out-of-plane (guide) magnetic field is reported in which the key role is played by an electron pressure anisotropy described by the Chew-Goldberger-Low gyrotropic equations of state in the generalized Ohm's law, which even dominates the Hall term. A description of the physical cause of this behavior is provided and two-dimensional fluid simulations are used to confirm the results. The electron pressure anisotropy causes the out-of-plane magnetic field to develop a quadrupole structure of opposite polarity to the Hall magnetic field and gives rise to dispersive waves. In addition to being important for understanding what causes reconnection to be fast, this mechanism should dominate in plasmas with low plasma beta and a high in-plane plasma beta with electron temperature comparable to or larger than ion temperature, so it could be relevant in the solar wind and some tokamaks.

  6. Fast magnetic reconnection due to anisotropic electron pressure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassak, P. A.; Baylor, R. N.; Fermo, R. L.; Beidler, M. T.; Shay, M. A.; Swisdak, M.; Drake, J. F.; Karimabadi, H.

    2015-02-01

    A new regime of fast magnetic reconnection with an out-of-plane (guide) magnetic field is reported in which the key role is played by an electron pressure anisotropy described by the Chew-Goldberger-Low gyrotropic equations of state in the generalized Ohm's law, which even dominates the Hall term. A description of the physical cause of this behavior is provided and two-dimensional fluid simulations are used to confirm the results. The electron pressure anisotropy causes the out-of-plane magnetic field to develop a quadrupole structure of opposite polarity to the Hall magnetic field and gives rise to dispersive waves. In addition to being important for understanding what causes reconnection to be fast, this mechanism should dominate in plasmas with low plasma beta and a high in-plane plasma beta with electron temperature comparable to or larger than ion temperature, so it could be relevant in the solar wind and some tokamaks.

  7. Experimental Evidence for Cerenkov Emission of Whistler Waves by Electron Holes Associated with Magnetic Reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eastwood, J. P.; Goldman, M. V.; Zhang, X.; Hietala, H.; Krupar, V.; Newman, D. L.; Angelopoulos, V.; Lapenta, G.

    2015-12-01

    Whistler waves are a ubiquitous plasma phenomenon, observed in a variety of space and laboratory plasma environments. They play a key role in many important and diverse processes, such as particle acceleration in the radiation belts and auroral acceleration region, the dissipation of plasma turbulence at small scales below the inertial range, collisionless shock physics, and magnetic reconnection. In reconnection they may modify the reconnection rate and also whistler physics is crucial to enabling fast reconnection in the Hall reconnection model. Consequently, understanding how whistler waves are generated and how they subsequently interact with the plasma is a problem of wide importance and application. It is well known that whistlers can arise as a result of kinetic instabilities, which grow exponentially from noise as a consequence of unstable electron distributions, for example temperature anisotropy. This is used ubiquitously to predict where and when whistler waves are likely to exist and therefore be of importance in many plasma phenomena. Recently it has been demonstrated theoretically and via computer simulations that whistler waves may also arise via Cerenkov emission from electron hole quasi-particles [Goldman et al., PRL, 2014]. Such wave emission can arise even when the temperature anisotropy leads to damping; in this case the system is analogous to a damped forced oscillator. Here we present novel experimental analysis from THEMIS showing for the first time evidence consistent with the generation of whistlers via Cerenkov emission during magnetotail reconnection. By considering the electromagnetic properties of the electron holes, the amplitude, phase speed and frequency of the associated whistlers, and also the available sub-spin observations of the electron distribution function, we find that the data are best explained by the Cerenkov emission theory rather than by kinetic instabilities due to the electron temperature anisotropy. Whilst the

  8. A contracting island model of electron acceleration during magnetic reconnection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drake, J. F.; Che, H.; Swisdak, M.; Shay, M. A.

    2006-10-01

    A Fermi-like model for energetic electron production during magnetic reconnection is described that explains key observations in the magnetosphere and solar corona [1]. Magnetic reconnection with a guide field leads to the growth and dynamics of multiple magnetic islands rather than a single large x-line [2]. Above a critical energy electron acceleration is dominated by the Fermi-like reflection of electrons within the resulting magnetic islands rather than by the parallel electric fields associated with the x-line. Particles trapped within islands gain energy as they reflect from ends of contracting magnetic islands. The pressure from energetic electrons rises rapidly until the rate of electron energy gain balances the rate of magnetic energy release. A Fokker-Planck equation for the distribution of energetic particles, including their feedback on island contraction, is obtained by averaging over the particle interaction with many islands. The steady state solutions in reconnection geometry result from convective losses balancing the Fermi drive. At high energy the electron distribution functions take the form of powerlaws whose spectral index depends on the initial electron β, lower (higher) β producing harder (softer) spectra.1. Drake et al., Nature, in press.2. Drake et al., Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, L13105, 2006.

  9. MESSENGER Observations of Magnetic Reconnection in Mercury's Magnetosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Slavin. James A.

    2009-01-01

    During MESSENGER'S second flyby of Mercury on October 6,2008, very intense reconnection was observed between the planet's magnetic field and a steady southward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). The dawn magnetopause was threaded by a strong magnetic field normal to its surface, approx.14 nT, that implies a rate of reconnection approx.10 times the typical rate at Earth and a cross-magnetospheric electric potential drop of approx.30 kV. The highest magnetic field observed during this second flyby, approx.160 nT, was found at the core of a large dayside flux transfer event (FTE). This FTE is estimated to contain magnetic flux equal to approx.5% that of Mercury's magnetic tail or approximately one order of magnitude higher fraction of the tail flux than is typically found for FTEs at Earth. Plasmoid and traveling compression region (TCR) signatures were observed throughout MESSENGER'S traversal of Mercury's magnetotail with a repetition rate comparable to the Dungey cycle time of approx.2 min. The TCR signatures changed from south-north, indicating tailward motion, to north-south, indicating sunward motion, at a distance approx.2.6 RM (where RM is Mercury's radius) behind the terminator indicating that the near-Mercury magnetotail neutral line was crossed at that point. Overall, these new MESSENGER observations suggest that magnetic reconnection at the dayside magnetopause is very intense relative to what is found at Earth and other planets, while reconnection in Mercury's tail is similar to that in other planetary magnetospheres, but with a very short Dungey cycle time.

  10. Solar flares and magnetic reconnection in quasi-separatrix layers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aulanier, G.; Demoulin, P.; Janvier, M.; Masson, S.; Pariat, E.

    2012-10-01

    Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental plasma physics process which is believed to be responsible for the bulk of energy release in solar flares. One the one hand, the onset of fast reconnection in high-Reynolds plasmas has long since been regarded as, perhaps, the major issue to understand. On the other hand, little attention has relatively been given to the three-dimensional nature of this phenomenon. Up to very recently, the latter has mostly been addressed by the solar physics community, presumably due to the wealth of space-borne and ground-based observations of three-dimensional solar coronal features during flares. Among other 3D concept, finite-B ``quasi-separatrix layers'' (QSLs) have been introduced in the nineties, as a generalization of the concept of true separatrices emanating from null-points. In this talk, I will show how both solar and experimental physics have revealed that these QSLs physically behave like true separatrices, in terms of current sheet formation and magnetic reconnection, albeit for the continuous slippage of field lines during the process. I will then show how this ``slip-running reconnection'' occurs in the wake of flux-ropes erupting from the solar corona towrds the heliosphere, and how it it eventually forms the observed post-flare loops in the Sun's corona.