Science Visualizations

The Rate of Spontaneous Plasma Reconnection

PI Name: Andrey Beresnyak, Naval Research Laboratory
Allocation Program: 2017 INCITE
Research Domain: Physics

Magnetic reconnection is a topological rearrangement of magnetic field lines, leading to the release of magnetic energy, often associated with solar X-ray flares. One of the key questions dogging this field of study revolves around the reconnection rate, the velocity at which magnetic field lines converge in a current layer, which has been inconsistent between observations of the sun, fluid simulations and plasma simulations. To gain greater insight into plasma reconnection, project researchers plan to use high-resolution Hall magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations, a simple framework for electron-proton plasmas. Resolving whether plasma reconnection is inherently different from resistive MHD reconnection is a key to many space and solar physics phenomena, from reconnection in the solar corona to acceleration in high energy sources, like blazars or gamma ray bursts. This research used resources of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility at Argonne National Laboratory, which is Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility supported under DE-AC02-06CH11357.