On the periodicity of linear and nonlinear oscillatory reconnection

Thurgood, Jonathan, Pontin, David and McLaughlin, James (2019) On the periodicity of linear and nonlinear oscillatory reconnection. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 621. A106. ISSN 0004-6361

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201834369


An injection of energy towards a magnetic null point can drive reversals of current-sheet polarity leading to time-dependent, oscillatory reconnection (OR), which may explain periodic phenomena generated when reconnection occurs in the solar atmosphere. However, the details of what controls the period of these current-sheet oscillations in realistic systems is poorly understood, despite being of crucial importance in assessing whether a specific model of OR can account for observed periodic behaviour.

This paper aims to highlight that dierent types of reconnection reversal are supported about null points, and that these can be distinct from the oscillation in the closed-boundary, linear systems considered by a number of authors in the 1990s. In particular, we explore the features of a nonlinear oscillation local to the null point, and examine the eect of resistivity and perturbation energy on the period, contrasting it to the linear, closed-boundary case.

Numerical simulations of the single-fluid, resistive MHD equations are used to investigate the eects of plasma resistivity and perturbation energy upon the resulting OR.

It is found that for small perturbations that behave linearly, the inverse Lundquist number dictates the period, provided the perturbation energy (i.e. the free energy) is small relative to the inverse Lundquist number defined on the boundary, regardless of the broadband structure of the initial perturbation. However, when the perturbation energy exceeds the threshold required for ‘nonlinear’ null collapse to occur, a complex oscillation of the magnetic field is produced which is, at most, only weakly-dependent on the resistivity. The resultant periodicity is instead strongly influenced by the amount of free energy, with more energetic perturbations producing higher-frequency oscillations.

Crucially, with regards to typical solar-based and astrophysical-based input energies, we demonstrate that the majority far exceed the threshold for nonlinearity to develop. This substantially alters the properties and periodicity of both null collapse and subsequent OR. Therefore, nonlinear regimes of OR should be considered in solar and astrophysical contexts.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Magnetic reconnection, Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), Sun: magnetic fields, Sun: oscillations, Waves
Subjects: F500 Astronomy
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2018 12:46
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 12:01
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/36748

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