The influence of temporal and spatial variation in the driver
School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of
S3 7RH, UK
2 Division of Mathematics, University of Dundee, DD1 4HN, UK
Accepted: 30 July 2012
Context. From observations, the atmosphere of the Sun has been shown to be highly dynamic with perturbations of the magnetic field often lacking temporal or spatial symmetry. Despite this, studies of the spine-fan reconnection mode at 3D nulls have so far focused on the very idealised case with symmetric driving of a fixed spatial extent.
Aims. We investigate the spine-fan reconnection process for less idealised cases, focusing on asymmetric driving and drivers with different length scales. We look at the initial current sheet formation and whether the scalings developed in the idealised models are robust in more realistic situations.
Methods. The investigation was carried out by numerically solving the resistive compressible 3D magnetohydrodynamic equations in a Cartesian box containing a linear null point. The spine-fan collapse was driven at the null through tangential boundary driving of the spine foot points.
Results. We find significant differences in the initial current sheet formation with asymmetric driving. Notable is the displacement of the null point position as a function of driving velocity and resistivity (η). However, the scaling relations developed in the idealised case are found to be robust (albeit at reduced amplitudes) despite this extra complexity. Lastly, the spatial variation is also shown to play an important role in the initial current sheet formation through controlling the displacement of the spine foot points.
Conclusions. We conclude that during the early stages of spine-fan reconnection both the temporal and spatial nature of the driving play important roles, with the idealised symmetrically driven case giving a “best case” for the rate of current development and connectivity change. As the most interesting eruptive events occur in relatively short time frames this work clearly shows the need for high temporal and spatial knowledge of the flows for accurate interpretation of the reconnection scenario. Lastly, since the scalings developed in the idealised case remain robust with more complex driving we can be more confident of their use in interpreting reconnection in complex magnetic field structures.
Key words: magnetic reconnection / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / Sun: magnetic topology / Sun: corona
© ESO, 2012