AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 31. Magnetic Reconnection and Prominence Formation
Oral, Monday, May 31, 1999, 2:00-3:30pm, Continental Ballroom A

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[31.08] Shear-driven Reconnection in Chromospheric Eruptions: 3D Numerical Simulations

J. T. Karpen, C. R. DeVore, S. K. Antiochos (NRL)

Magnetic reconnection has been implicated in nearly all forms of solar activity. As observations continue to reveal such activity at ever smaller scales, the chromospheric transients known as explosive events and microjets have emerged as perhaps the most likely examples of reconnection at work on the Sun. Although reconnection has been studied for decades, only recently has it become feasible to explore the behavior of interacting flux systems under conditions even remotely approximating the solar environment. In particular, most analytic and numerical treatments to date have been two-dimensional and highly idealized in terms of assumed symmetries and boundary conditions. Our earlier 2.5D calculations of reconnecting arcades driven by footpoint motions demonstrated that reconnection can account for the key features of (and differences between) explosive events and microjets, most notably the characteristic jets and bidirectional flows. Encouraged by these results, we have begun to investigate three-dimensional reconnection at chromospheric/transition region heights between adjacent bipoles with a new, fully 3D, FCT-based code developed for massively parallel supercomputers under the NASA HPCC program. The dynamic and energetic consequences of shear-driven 3D reconnection between paired bipoles, and comparisons between our simulation results and SOHO and TRACE observations of chromospheric eruptions, will be presented.

* This work is supported by NASA and ONR.

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