Particle acceleration at a reconnecting magnetic separator
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While the exact acceleration mechanism of energetic particles during solar flares is (as yet) unknown, magnetic reconnection plays a key role both in the release of stored magnetic energy of the solar corona and the magnetic restructuring during a flare. Recent work has shown that special field lines, called separators, are common sites of reconnection in 3D numerical experiments. To date, 3D separator reconnection sites have received little attention as particle accelerators. We investigate the effectiveness of separator reconnection as a particle acceleration mechanism for electrons and protons. We study the particle acceleration using a relativistic guiding-centre particle code in a time-dependent kinematic model of magnetic reconnection at a separator. The effect upon particle behaviour of initial position, pitch angle and initial kinetic energy are examined in detail, both for specific (single) particle examples and for large distributions of initial conditions. The separator reconnection model contains several free parameters and we study the effect of changing these parameters upon particle acceleration, in particular in view of the final particle energy ranges which agree with observed energy spectra.
Threlfall , J , Neukirch , T , Parnell , C E & Eradat Oskoui , S 2015 , ' Particle acceleration at a reconnecting magnetic separator ' , Astronomy & Astrophysics , vol. 574 , A7 . https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201424366
Astronomy & Astrophysics
© 2014. ESO. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Astronomy and Astrophysics on 16 January 2015, available online at: http://www.aanda.org/index.php?option=com_article&access=doi&doi=10.1051/0004-6361/201424366.
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