MST1: Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Astrophysical Plasmas
Clare Parnell (Uni. St Andrews), Bernhard Kliem (Univ. Potsdam and MSSL), Andrew Walsh (MSSL)
Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process involving topology change and energy release in plasmas and conducting fluids throughout the universe. All events associated with a change in magnetic field connectivity must involve magnetic reconnection. Examples include disruptions in fusion plasmas, the opening of planetary magnetospheres to the interplanetary magnetic field at their dayside magnetopauses, flux closure during substorms in planetary magnetotails, coronal heating, solar eruptions, the entry of interstellar plasma into the heliosphere, the dynamic balance between a star's open and closed magnetic flux, highly efficient particle acceleration in solar and stellar flares and astrophysical jets. Space plasmas are a particularly rich source of information about the mechanisms and consequences of reconnection, with recent missions like Cluster and SDO providing deeper insight and revealing new challenges. Despite intense research, the nature of reconnection processes at microscopic scales are far from understood. Currently two key developments of the field address the two-dimensional breakup of current layers into a cascade of filamentary structures and the related three-dimensional breakup of current layers relating to various topological or geometrical properties of the magnetic field. Both of these processes suggest a transition into a turbulent regime.
The session targets both the UKSP and MIST communities as well as astrophysicists interested in effects related to magnetic fields. We intend to provide a broad forum for the discussion of all relevant observational, experimental and theoretical aspects of magnetic reconnection. Especially welcome will be contributions which emphasize the similarities and differences of reconnection between various astrophysical, magnetospheric and solar phenomena and the key developments mentioned above.
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Poster Session B
Thursday 29th 10:00-11:15