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NAM2012 - All Presentation Details

Record 434 of 756

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Evolution of magnetic flux in separator reconnection

Author: A. L. Wilmot-Smith

University of Dundee

Co-Authors: G. Hornig (University of Dundee)

Session: MST1: Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Astrophysical Plasmas

Presentation type: Talk      10:15  Thursday 29th 10:00-11:15 


In three dimensions one of the main locations of current sheet formation and reconnection is the separator, a field line connecting two nulls and hence lying at the intersection of four distinct flux domains. Separator reconnection is of crucial importance in flux transfer events at the dayside magnetopause, has been observed (by Cluster) in the magnetotail and is thought to be relevant for flux emergence in the solar corona. Several fundamental details of how separator reconnection takes place are not yet well understood and in an effort to better understand the basics of the process we present a model for a single reconnection process in the neighbourhood of a separator, paying particular attention to the way magnetic flux evolves in the process. We find that a sufficiently strong reconnection event generates new separators which leads to a complex system of magnetic flux tubes connecting regions of previously separated flux. We also consider how the reconnection rate should be measured and interpreted in such a system, one finding being that in a three dimensional situation the topology of the magnetic field must be known before a meaningful reconnection rate can be determined.

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