The formation and stability of Petschek reconnection
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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.
Baty , H , Forbes , T G & Priest , E R 2014 , ' The formation and stability of Petschek reconnection ' Physics of Plasmas , vol 21 , no. 11 . DOI: 10.1063/1.4901918
Physics of Plasmas
Copyright 2014. AIP Publishing LLC. This work is made available online with permission from the publisher The formation and stability of Petschek reconnection Baty, H., Forbes, T. G. & Priest, E. R. 1 Nov 2014 In : Physics of Plasmas. 21, 11. The final published version of this work is available at http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/pop/21/11/10.1063/1.4901918
E. R. Priest is grateful to the Leverhulme Trust. T. G. Forbes received support from NASA grant NNX-10AC04G to the University of New Hampshire. H. Baty acknowledges support by French National Research Agency (ANR) through Grant ANR-13-JS05-0003-01 (Project EMPERE).
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