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Title: The formation and stability of Petschek reconnection

A combined analytical and numerical study of magnetic reconnection in two-dimensional resistive magnetohydrodynamics is carried out by using different explicit spatial variations of the resistivity. A special emphasis on the existence of stable/unstable Petschek's solutions is taken, comparing with the recent analytical model given by Forbes et al. [Phys. Plasmas 20, 052902 (2013)]. Our results show good quantitative agreement between the analytical theory and the numerical solutions for a Petschek-type solution to within an accuracy of about 10% or better. Our simulations also show that if the resistivity profile is relatively flat near the X-point, one of two possible asymmetric solutions will occur. Which solution occurs depends on small random perturbations of the initial conditions. The existence of two possible asymmetric solutions, in a system which is otherwise symmetric, constitutes an example of spontaneous symmetry breaking.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg, Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, UMR 7550, 11 rue de l'Université, F-67000 Strasbourg (France)
  2. Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824 (United States)
  3. Institute of Mathematics, University of St. Andrews, Fife KY169SS, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22403251
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 21; Journal Issue: 11; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ASYMMETRY; DISTURBANCES; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMICS; NUMERICAL ANALYSIS; NUMERICAL SOLUTION; PERTURBATION THEORY; STABILITY; SYMMETRY BREAKING; TWO-DIMENSIONAL SYSTEMS