Relation of astrophysical turbulence and magnetic reconnection Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Astrophysical fluids are generically turbulent and this must be taken into account for most transport processes. We discuss how the preexisting turbulence modifies magnetic reconnection and how magnetic reconnection affects the MHD turbulent cascade. We show the intrinsic interdependence and interrelation of magnetic turbulence and magnetic reconnection, in particular, that strong magnetic turbulence in 3D requires reconnection and 3D magnetic turbulence entails fast reconnection. We follow the approach in Eyink, Lazarian & Vishniac 2011 to show that the expressions of fast magnetic reconnection in Lazarian & Vishniac 1999 can be recovered if Richardson diffusion of turbulent flows is used instead of ordinary Ohmic diffusion. This does not revive, however, the concept of magnetic turbulent diffusion which assumes that magnetic fields can be mixed up in a passive way down to a very small dissipation scales. On the contrary, we are dealing the reconnection of dynamically important magnetic field bundles which strongly resist bending and have well defined mean direction weakly perturbed by turbulence. We argue that in the presence of turbulence the very concept of flux-freezing requires modification. The diffusion that arises from magnetic turbulence can be called reconnection diffusion as it based on reconnection of magnetic field lines. The reconnection diffusion has important implications for the continuous transport processes in magnetized plasmas and for star formation. In addition, fast magnetic reconnection in turbulent media induces the First order Fermi acceleration of energetic particles, can explain solar flares and gamma ray bursts. However, the most dramatic consequence of these developments is the fact that the standard flux freezing concept must be radically modified in the presence of turbulence.

publication date

  • January 2012