Three-dimensional oscillatory magnetic reconnection

Astronomy Unit Seminars
Jonathan Thurgood
David Tsiklauri
February 24th, 2017 at 15:00
GO Jones Room 610

Magnetic reconnection is an energy release mechanism fundamental to both astrophysical and laboratory plasmas, lying at the heart of phenomena including solar and stellar flares, geomagnetic substorms, and tokamak disruptions in fusion plasmas. Current frontiers include the nature of its initialisation, the evolution of reconnection regions in time, their interaction with external regions, and the impact of considering fully three-dimensional plasmas. Here we examine all of these problems in a self-consistent manner using numerical simulation. We demonstrate that magnetic reconnection in a three-dimensional plasma generically involves a self-generated oscillation, and that an unexpected consequence of this is the generation of a plethora of plasma waves. The discovery that reconnection is inherently periodic, even in response to aperiodic driving, could lead to a natural explanation of the observed quasi-periodicity in solar and stellar flare emission.