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Title: Three-Dimensional Magnetic Reconnection With a Spatially Confined X-Line Extent: Implications for Dipolarizing Flux Bundles and the Dawn-Dusk Asymmetry

Abstract

Using 3-D particle-in-cell simulations, we study magnetic reconnection with the X-line being spatially confined in the current direction.We include thick current layers to prevent reconnection at two ends of a thin current sheet that has a thickness on an ion inertial ($$d_i$$) scale. The reconnection rate and outflow speed drop significantly when the extent of the thin current sheet in the current direction is $≲ O$(10$$d_i$$). When the thin current sheet extent is long enough, we find that it consists of two distinct regions; a suppressed reconnecting region (on the ion-drifting side) exists adjacent to the active region where reconnection proceeds normally as in a 2-D case with a typical fast rate value ≃ 0.1. The extent of this suppression region is $≃ O$(10$$d_i$$), and it suppresses reconnection when the thin current sheet extent is comparable or shorter. The time scale of current sheet thinning toward fast reconnection can be translated into the spatial scale of this suppression region, because electron drifts inside the ion diffusion region transport the reconnected magnetic flux, which drives outflows and furthers the current sheet thinning, away from this region. This is a consequence of the Hall effect in 3-D. While the existence of this suppression region may explain the shortest possible azimuthal extent of dipolarizing flux bundles at Earth, it may also explain the dawn-dusk asymmetry observed at the magnetotail of Mercury, which has a global dawn-dusk extent much shorter than that of Earth.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [3];  [6]
  1. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (United States)
  2. Bergen Univ. (Norway); Southwest Research Inst., San Antonio, TX (United States)
  3. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
  4. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States)
  5. Southwest Research Inst., San Antonio, TX (United States)
  6. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (United States); Univ. of Science and Technology of China, Hefei (China). Dept. of Geophysics and Planetary Science
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1577552
Grant/Contract Number:  
80NSSC18K0754; 223252/F50; 1401822; NAS5-02099; 80NSSC18K1363
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Space Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 124; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9380
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; Astronomy & Astrophysics; magnetic reconnection; short X‐line extent; dipolarizing flux bundles; busty bulk flows; dawn‐dusk asymmetry; Mercury

Citation Formats

Liu, Yi‐Hsin, Li, T. C., Hesse, M., Sun, W. J., Liu, J., Burch, J., Slavin, J. A., and Huang, K. Three-Dimensional Magnetic Reconnection With a Spatially Confined X-Line Extent: Implications for Dipolarizing Flux Bundles and the Dawn-Dusk Asymmetry. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1029/2019ja026539.
Liu, Yi‐Hsin, Li, T. C., Hesse, M., Sun, W. J., Liu, J., Burch, J., Slavin, J. A., & Huang, K. Three-Dimensional Magnetic Reconnection With a Spatially Confined X-Line Extent: Implications for Dipolarizing Flux Bundles and the Dawn-Dusk Asymmetry. United States. doi:10.1029/2019ja026539.
Liu, Yi‐Hsin, Li, T. C., Hesse, M., Sun, W. J., Liu, J., Burch, J., Slavin, J. A., and Huang, K. Thu . "Three-Dimensional Magnetic Reconnection With a Spatially Confined X-Line Extent: Implications for Dipolarizing Flux Bundles and the Dawn-Dusk Asymmetry". United States. doi:10.1029/2019ja026539.
@article{osti_1577552,
title = {Three-Dimensional Magnetic Reconnection With a Spatially Confined X-Line Extent: Implications for Dipolarizing Flux Bundles and the Dawn-Dusk Asymmetry},
author = {Liu, Yi‐Hsin and Li, T. C. and Hesse, M. and Sun, W. J. and Liu, J. and Burch, J. and Slavin, J. A. and Huang, K.},
abstractNote = {Using 3-D particle-in-cell simulations, we study magnetic reconnection with the X-line being spatially confined in the current direction.We include thick current layers to prevent reconnection at two ends of a thin current sheet that has a thickness on an ion inertial ($d_i$) scale. The reconnection rate and outflow speed drop significantly when the extent of the thin current sheet in the current direction is $≲ O$(10$d_i$). When the thin current sheet extent is long enough, we find that it consists of two distinct regions; a suppressed reconnecting region (on the ion-drifting side) exists adjacent to the active region where reconnection proceeds normally as in a 2-D case with a typical fast rate value ≃ 0.1. The extent of this suppression region is $≃ O$(10$d_i$), and it suppresses reconnection when the thin current sheet extent is comparable or shorter. The time scale of current sheet thinning toward fast reconnection can be translated into the spatial scale of this suppression region, because electron drifts inside the ion diffusion region transport the reconnected magnetic flux, which drives outflows and furthers the current sheet thinning, away from this region. This is a consequence of the Hall effect in 3-D. While the existence of this suppression region may explain the shortest possible azimuthal extent of dipolarizing flux bundles at Earth, it may also explain the dawn-dusk asymmetry observed at the magnetotail of Mercury, which has a global dawn-dusk extent much shorter than that of Earth.},
doi = {10.1029/2019ja026539},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research. Space Physics},
number = 4,
volume = 124,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {4}
}

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