3d magnetic reconnection

Clare E. Parnell, Rhona C. Maclean, Andrew L. Haynes, Klaus Galsgaard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Magnetic reconnection is an important process that is prevalent in a wide range of astrophysical bodies. It is the mechanism that permits magnetic fields to relax to a lower energy state through the global restructuring of the magnetic field and is thus associated with a range of dynamic phenomena such as solar flares and CMEs. The characteristics of threedimensional reconnection are reviewed revealing how much more diverse it is than reconnection in two dimensions. For instance, three-dimensional reconnection can occur both in the vicinity of null points, as well as in the absence of them. It occurs continuously and continually throughout a diffusion volume, as opposed to at a single point, as it does in two dimensions. This means that in three-dimensions field lines do not reconnect in pairs of lines making the visualisation and interpretation of three-dimensional reconnection difficult. By considering particular numerical 3D magnetohydrodynamic models of reconnection, we consider how magnetic reconnection can lead to complex magnetic topologies and current sheet formation. Indeed, it has been found that even simple interactions, such as the emergence of a flux tube, can naturally give rise to 'turbulent-like' reconnection regions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAstrophysical Dynamics
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Stars to Galaxies
Pages227-238
Number of pages12
EditionS271
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
NumberS271
Volume6
ISSN (Print)1743-9213
ISSN (Electronic)1743-9221

Keywords

  • (magnetohydrodynamics:) MHD
  • Magnetic fields

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