TITLE

On the instability of a quasiequilibrium current sheet and the onset of impulsive bursty reconnection

AUTHOR(S)
Skender, Marina; Lapenta, Giovanni
PUB. DATE
February 2010
SOURCE
Physics of Plasmas;Feb2010, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p022905
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
A two-dimensional reconnecting current sheet is studied numerically in the magnetohydrodynamic approach. Different simulation setups are employed in order to follow the evolution of the formed current sheet in diverse configurations: two types of initial equilibria, Harris and force-free, two types of boundary conditions, periodic and open, with uniform and nonuniform grid set, respectively. All the simulated cases are found to exhibit qualitatively the same behavior in which a current sheet evolves slowly through a series of quasiequilibria; eventually it fragments and enters a phase of fast impulsive bursty reconnection. In order to gain more insight on the nature and characteristics of the instability taking place, physical characteristics of the simulated current sheet are related to its geometrical properties. At the adopted Lundquist number of S=104 and Reynolds number R=104, the ratio of the length to width (aspect ratio) of the formed current sheet is observed to increase slowly in time up to a maximum value at which it fragments. Moreover, additional turbulence applied to the system is shown to exhibit the same qualitative steps, but with the sooner onset of the fragmentation and at smaller aspect ratio.
ACCESSION #
48352264

 

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