NUMERICAL TESTS OF FAST RECONNECTION IN WEAKLY STOCHASTIC MAGNETIC FIELDS Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We study the effects of turbulence on magnetic reconnection using 3D numerical simulations. This is the first attempt to test a model of fast magnetic reconnection in the presence of weak turbulence proposed by Lazarian & Vishniac (1999). This model predicts that weak turbulence, generically present in most of astrophysical systems, enhances the rate of reconnection by reducing the transverse scale for reconnection events and by allowing many independent flux reconnection events to occur simultaneously. As a result the reconnection speed becomes independent of Ohmic resistivity and is determined by the magnetic field wandering induced by turbulence. To quantify the reconnection speed we use both an intuitive definition, i.e. the speed of the reconnected flux inflow, as well as a more sophisticated definition based on a formally derived analytical expression. Our results confirm the predictions of the Lazarian & Vishniac model. In particular, we find that Vrec Pinj^(1/2), as predicted by the model. The dependence on the injection scale for some of our models is a bit weaker than expected, i.e. l^(3/4), compared to the predicted linear dependence on the injection scale, which may require some refinement of the model or may be due to the effects like finite size of the excitation region. The reconnection speed was found to depend on the expected rate of magnetic field wandering and not on the magnitude of the guide field. In our models, we see no dependence on the guide field when its strength is comparable to the reconnected component. More importantly, while in the absence of turbulence we successfully reproduce the Sweet-Parker scaling of reconnection, in the presence of turbulence we do not observe any dependence on Ohmic resistivity, confirming that our reconnection is fast.

publication date

  • July 20, 2009