The formation and stability of Petschek reconnection

H. Baty, T.G. Forbes, E.R. Priest

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8 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

A combined analytical and numerical study of magnetic reconnection in two-dimensional resistive magnetohydrodynamics is carried out by using different explicit spatial variations of the resistivity. A special emphasis on the existence of stable/unstable Petschek's solutions is taken, comparing with the recent analytical model given by Forbes et al. [Phys. Plasmas 20, 052902 (2013)]. Our results show good quantitative agreement between the analytical theory and the numerical solutions for a Petschek-type solution to within an accuracy of about 10% or better. Our simulations also show that if the resistivity profile is relatively flat near the X-point, one of two possible asymmetric solutions will occur. Which solution occurs depends on small random perturbations of the initial conditions. The existence of two possible asymmetric solutions, in a system which is otherwise symmetric, constitutes an example of spontaneous symmetry breaking.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Volume21
Issue number11
Early online date19 Nov 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

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