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Abstract
Magnetic separators are important locations of threedimensional magnetic reconnection. They are field lines that lie along the edges of four flux domains and represent the intersection of two separatrix surfaces. Since the intersection of two surfaces produces an Xtype structure, when viewed along the line of intersection, the global threedimensional topology of the magnetic field around a separator is hyperbolic. It is therefore usually assumed that the projection of the magnetic field lines themselves onto a twodimensional plane perpendicular to a separator is also hyperbolic in nature. In this paper, we use the results of a threedimensional MHD experiment of separator reconnection to show that, in fact, the projection of the magnetic field lines in a cut perpendicular to a separator may be either hyperbolic or elliptic and that the structure of the magnetic field projection may change in space, along the separator, as well as in time, during the life of the separator. Furthermore, in our experiment, we find that there are both spatial and temporal variations in the parallel component of current (and electric field) along the separator, with all high parallel current regions (which are associated with reconnection) occurring between counterrotating flow regions. Importantly, reconnection occurs not only at locations where the structure of the projected perpendicular magnetic field is hyperbolic but also where it is elliptic.
Original language  English 

Article number  A02102 
Number of pages  10 
Journal  Journal of Geophysical Research 
Volume  115 
Issue number  A2 
DOIs  
Publication status  Published  26 Feb 2010 
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 1 Finished

Solar&Magnetospheric Plasma Theory PP/E1: Solar and Magnetospheric Plasma Theory
Neukirch, T., Hood, A. W., Parnell, C. E., Priest, E., Roberts, B. & Wright, A. N.
1/04/07 → 31/03/12
Project: Standard