Steady state reconnection at a single 3D magnetic null point
K. Galsgaard1 and D. I. Pontin2
Niels Bohr Institute, Blegdamsvej 17, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
2 Division of Mathematics, University of Dundee, Dundee, DD1 4HN, UK
Received: 5 March 2010
Accepted: 5 February 2011
Aims. We systematically stress a rotationally symmetric 3D magnetic null point by advecting the opposite footpoints of the spine axis in opposite directions. This stress eventually concentrates in the vicinity of the null point, thereby forming a local current sheet through which magnetic reconnection takes place. The aim is to look for a steady state evolution of the current sheet dynamics, which may provide scaling relations for various characteristic parameters of the system.
Methods. The evolution is followed by solving numerically the non-ideal MHD equations in a Cartesian domain. The null point is embedded in an initially constant density and temperature plasma.
Results. It is shown that a quasi-steady reconnection process can be set up at a 3D null by continuous shear driving. It appears that a true steady state is unlikely to be realised because the current layer tends to grow until it is restricted by the geometry of the computational domain and the imposed driving profile. However, ratios between characteristic quantities clearly settle after some time to stable values, so that the evolution is quasi-steady. The experiments show a number of scaling relations, but they do not provide a clear consensus for extending to lower magnetic resistivity or faster driving velocities. More investigations are needed to fully clarify the properties of current sheets at magnetic null points.
Key words: magnetic reconnection / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / methods: numerical / Sun: corona / magnetic fields
© ESO, 2011