Steady magnetic reconnection in three dimensions

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concepts of magnetic reconnection that have been developed in two dimensions need to be generalised to three-dimensional configurations. Reconnection may be defined to occur when there is an electric field (E) parallel to field lines (known as potential singular lines) which are potential reconnection locations and near which the field has an X-type topology in a plane normal to that field line. In general there is a continuum of neighbouring potential singular lines, and which one supports reconnection depends on the imposed flow or electric field. For steady reconnection the nearby flow and electric field are severely constrained in the ideal region by the condition that E = 0 there. Potential singular lines may occur in twisted prominence fields or in the complex magnetic configuration above sources of mixed polarity of an active region or a supergranulation cell. When reconnection occurs there is dynamic MHD behaviour with current concentration and strong plasma jetting along the singular line and the singular surfaces which map onto them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-214
Number of pages4
JournalSolar Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1989


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