Dynamics of plasmoids formed by the current sheet tearing
Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 25165 Ondřejov, Czech Republic
2 Hvar Observatory, Faculty of Geodesy, Kačićeva 26, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 28 September 2007
Context.Moving blob-like features observed in the soft X-ray and EUV range above flare-loops are often interpreted as signatures of plasmoids formed by the current sheet tearing in the flare-associated reconnection process.
Aims.We investigate the evolution of the flare-associated current sheet numerically in order to analyse the kinematics and dynamics of plasmoids. The goal is to explain the broad diversity of kinematical properties of the plasmoid signatures recorded by various observational techniques.
Methods.We performed a 2-dimensional resistive-MHD numerical simulation of the reconnection starting from the Harris-type current sheet. After identifying the plasmoids, we followed their motion to determine basic kinematical parameters (velocity and acceleration), and we analysed the associated magnetic field topology.
Results.The simulation reveals a broad variety of the kinematical/dynamical properties of plasmoids – after formation, a plasmoid can move upward, downward, or can even change its direction of propagation. The highest velocities, in the range of the ambient Alfvén speed, are found in the case of upward propagating plasmoids. The acceleration is determined by the net magnetic field tension of the reconnected field lines. Downwardly propagating plasmoids achieve only a fraction of the ambient Alfvén speed. They strongly decelerate during the coalescence with low-lying flare-loops, when distinct energy-release peaks occur and loop system oscillations are excited.
Conclusions.The presented results explain, qualitatively and quantitatively, the broad spectrum of kinematical properties of various observational features attributed to the current-sheet plasmoids.
Key words: Sun: flares – Sun: corona – magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) – methods: numerical
© ESO, 2007