AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 88. Atmospheric Heating and Dynamics II
Oral, Thursday, June 6, 2002, 2:00-3:30pm, San Miguel

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[88.02] Reconnection of Twisted Magnetic Flux Tubes

M. G. Linton, R. B. Dahlburg, S. K. Antiochos (Naval Research Lab)

We present 3D MHD simulations of the collision and reconnection of pairs of twisted, isolated magnetic flux tubes at various collision angles. Such reconnection is likely to be an important source of energy release in solar flares, and could play a role in coronal mass ejection dynamics. We show that the dynamics of the reconnection depends strongly on the collision angle between the tube axes and on the relative sign of twist of the tubes. The most energetic interaction is a slingshot interaction, analogous to the reconnection often seen in 2D simulations. But, depending on the configuration, the tubes can also bounce without reconnecting, merge into a single tube, or tunnel through each other. We will discuss these various interactions, the topological changes they bring about, and the magnetic energy released. In addition we will present an analytical model which explains some of the results, in particular the tunnel and slingshot interactions, in terms of a simple energy calculation based on helicity conservation.

This work was supported by NASA and ONR grants, an ITP-NSF grant, and a grant of computer time from the DoD/HPC Program.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.