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NAM2012 - All Presentation Details

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Simulations of Magnetic Reconnection in the Turbulent Solar Wind

Author: Christopher Haynes

Queen Mary University of London

Co-Authors:

Session: MST1: Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Astrophysical Plasmas

Presentation type: Poster      Poster Session B   

Summary:

Magnetic reconnection is a universal process which can play a controlling role in large-scale interactions such as at the magnetopause. Recently interesting questions have arisen on the role of reconnection in turbulence, motivated by MHD simulations and observations of possible reconnection in large amplitude turbulence behind the Earth's quasi-parallel shock. We analyze previous PIC simulation work (Camporeale et al 2010) for signatures of magnetic reconnection, and find electron scale reconnection is occurring in the turbulent plasma simulation. We also analyze plasma temperature in more detail revealing many localised temperature variations, indicating particle acceleration events are occurring at scales near the electron gyroradius. We present new results from 2D fully-kinetic Particle-in-Cell (PIC) simulations of decaying electromagnetic fluctuations, with the guide magnetic field out of the simulation plane. The computational box is such that wavelengths ranging from the electron to ion gyroradius are resolved. The parameters used are typical for the solar wind, with realistic ion to electron mass ratio. We investigate the role of these reconnection events in the turbulent cascade. The work demonstrates that, in contrast to dissipation mechanisms based on linear modes, non-linear magnetic reconnection may be an important energy dissipation mechanism in turbulent solar wind plasma.

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