AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 95 Coronal Heating Theory and Observations
SPD Oral, Thursday, June 3, 2004, 2:00-3:30pm, 704

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[95.09] The Dynamics of Reconnection in a Three Dimensional Current Sheet

M. G. Linton (Naval Research Laboratory), E. R. Priest (St. Andrews University), D. W. Longcope (Montana State University)

Many models for solar flares and coronal heating rely on magnetic reconnection in three dimensional current sheets. Yet the topology and evolution of reconnection in such current sheets is not well known. We will present a numerical MHD study of such reconnection. We will show how the tearing mode evolves in a finite sized, 3D current sheet, and how this affects the dynamics of the magnetic field reconnecting in the sheet. We will show how the flux tubes formed in isolated reconnection regions slingshot away from the the reconnection site, how they interact with the unreconnected field surrounding them, and how this differs from the 2D reconnection limit. Finally we will discuss the dynamics of flux tubes reconnecting in a patchy reconnection scenario, where many isolated reconnection regions occur simultaneously in a current sheet. We will show how this causes reconnected flux tubes to become topologically entangled with each other, and how this limits the level of energy release which can be achieved in reconnection.

This work has been supported by NASA, ONR, and PPARC.

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