The appearance, motion, and disappearance of three-dimensional magnetic null points
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While theoretical models and simulations of magnetic reconnection often assume symmetry such that the magnetic null point when present is co-located with a flow stagnation point, the introduction of asymmetry typically leads to non-ideal flows across the null point. To understand this behavior, we present exact expressions for the motion of three-dimensional linear null points. The most general expression shows that linear null points move in the direction along which the magnetic field and its time derivative are antiparallel. Null point motion in resistive magnetohydrodynamics results from advection by the bulk plasma flow and resistive diffusion of the magnetic field, which allows non-ideal flows across topological boundaries. Null point motion is described intrinsically by parameters evaluated locally; however, global dynamics help set the local conditions at the null point. During a bifurcation of a degenerate null point into a null-null pair or the reverse, the instantaneous velocity of separation or convergence of the null-null pair will typically be infinite along the null space of the Jacobian matrix of the magnetic field, but with finite components in the directions orthogonal to the null space. Not all bifurcating null-null pairs are connected by a separator. Furthermore, except under special circumstances, there will not exist a straight line separator connecting a bifurcating null-null pair. The motion of separators cannot be described using solely local parameters because the identification of a particular field line as a separator may change as a result of non-ideal behavior elsewhere along the field line.
A. Murphy , N , Parnell , C E & Haynes , A L 2015 , ' The appearance, motion, and disappearance of three-dimensional magnetic null points ' Physics of Plasmas , vol 22 , no. 10 , 102117 . DOI: 10.1063/1.4934929
Physics of Plasmas
© 2015 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
N.A.M. acknowledges support from NASA grants NNX11AB61G, NNX12AB25G, and NNX15AF43G; NASA contract NNM07AB07C; and NSF SHINE grants AGS-1156076 and AGS-1358342 to SAO. C.E.P. acknowledges support from the St Andrews 2013 STFC Consolidated grant.
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