Abstract:
Supra-arcade downflows (SADs) are sunward, generally dark, plasma density depletions originated above posteruption flare arcades. In this paper using 3D MHD simulations we investigate if the SAD cavities can be produced by a direct combination of the tearing mode and Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities leading to a turbulent current sheet (CS) medium or if the current sheet is merely the background where SADs are produced triggered by an impulsive deposition of energy. We find that to give account of the observational dark lane structures an addition of local energy, provided by a reconnection event, is required. We suggest that there may be a closed relation between characteristic SAD sizes and CS widths that must be satisfied to obtain an observable SAD.

Abstract:
We report simulation results for turbulent magnetic reconnection obtained using a newly developed Reynolds-averaged magnetohydrodynamics model. We find that the initial Harris current sheet develops in three ways, depending on the strength of turbulence: laminar reconnection, turbulent reconnection, and turbulent diffusion. The turbulent reconnection explosively converts the magnetic field energy into both kinetic and thermal energy of plasmas, and generates open fast reconnection jets. This fast turbulent reconnection is achieved by the localization of turbulent diffusion. Additionally, localized structure forms through the interaction of the mean field and turbulence.

Abstract:
We consider stochastic reconnection in a magnetized, partially ionized medium. Stochastic reconnection is a generic effect, due to field line wandering, in which the speed of reconnection is determined by the ability of ejected plasma to diffuse away from the current sheet along magnetic field lines, rather than by the details of current sheet structure. We consider the limit of weak stochasticity, so that the mean magnetic field energy density is greater than either the turbulent kinetic energy density or the energy density associated with the fluctuating component of the field. We consider field line stochasticity generated through a turbulent cascade, which leads us to consider the effect of neutral drag on the turbulent cascade of energy. In a collisionless plasma, neutral particle viscosity and ion-neutral drag will damp mid-scale turbulent motions, but the power spectrum of the magnetic perturbations extends below the viscous cutoff scale. We give a simple physical picture of the magnetic field structure below this cutoff, consistent with numerical experiments. We provide arguments for the reemergence of the turbulent cascade well below the viscous cut-off scale and derive estimates for field line diffusion on all scales. We note that this explains the persistence of a single power law form for the turbulent power spectrum of the interstellar medium, from scales of tens of parsecs down to thousands of kilometers. We find that under typical conditions in the ISM stochastic reconnection speeds are reduced by the presence of neutrals, but by no more than an order of magnitude.

Abstract:
A 2.5-dimensional magnetohydrodynamics simulation analysis of the energy release for three different reconnection regimes is presented. The system under investigation consists in a current-sheet located in a medium with a strong density variation along the current layer: such system is modeled as it were located in the high chromosphere/low solar corona as in the case of pre- flare and coronal mass ejection (CME) configurations or in the aftermath of such explosive phenomena. By triggering different magnetic-reconnection dynamics, that is from a laminar slow evolution to a spontaneous non-steady turbulent reconnection [1,2,3], we observe a rather different efficiency and temporal behavior with regard to the energy fluxes associated with each of these reconnection-driven evolutions. These discrepancies are fundamental key-properties to create realistic models of the triggering mechanisms and initial evolution of all those phenomena requiring fast (and high power) magnetic reconnection events within the solar environment. 1. G. Lapenta, Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 235001 (2008). 2. L. Bettarini, and G. Lapenta, ApJ Submitted (2009). 3. M. Skender, and G. Lapenta, Phys. Plasmas submitted (2009).

Abstract:
Magnetic reconnection is a process of magnetic field topology change, which is one of the most fundamental processes in magnetized plasmas. In most astrophysical environments the Reynolds numbers are large and therefore the transition to turbulence is inevitable. This turbulence must be taken into account for any theory of magnetic reconnection, since the initially laminar configurations can transit to the turbulence state, what is demonstrated by 3D high resolution numerical simulations. We discuss ideas of how turbulence can modify reconnection with the focus on the Lazarian & Vishniac (1999) reconnection model and present numerical evidence supporting the model and demonstrate that it is closely connected to the concept of Richardson diffusion and compatible with the Lagrangian dynamics of magnetized fluids. We point out that the Generalized Ohm's Law, that accounts for turbulent motion, predicts the subdominance of the microphysical plasma effects for a realistically turbulent media. We show that on of the most dramatic consequences of turbulence is the violation of the generally accepted notion of magnetic flux freezing. This notion is a corner stone of most theories dealing with magnetized plasmas and therefore its change induces fundamental shifts in accepted paradigms like turbulent reconnection entailing the diffusion process that is essential for understanding star formation. We argue, that at sufficiently high Reynolds numbers the process of tearing reconnection should transfer to turbulent reconnection. We discuss flares predicted by turbulent reconnection and relate them to solar flares and gamma ray bursts. We analyze solar observations, measurements in the solar wind or heliospheric current sheet, and show their correspondence with turbulent reconnection predictions. Finally, we discuss 1st Order Fermi acceleration as a natural consequence of the turbulent reconnection.

Abstract:
The third order accurate upwind compact difference scheme has been applied to the numerical study of the magnetic reconnection process possibly occurring near the interplanetary current sheet, under the framework of the two-dimensional compressible magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). Our results here show that the driven reconnection near the current sheet can occur within 10–30 min for the interplanetary high magnetic Reynolds number,R M =2 000– 10 000, the stable magnetic reconnection structure can be formed in hour-order of magnitude, and there are some basic properties such as the multiple X-line reconnections, vortical velocity structures, filament current systems, splitting and collapse of the high-density plasma bulk. These results are helpful in understanding and identifying the magnetic reconnection phenomena near the interplanetary current sheets.

Abstract:
The third order accurate upwind compact difference scheme has been applied to the numerical study of the magnetic reconnection process possibly occurring near the interplanetary current sheet, under the framework of the two-dimensional compressible magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). Our results here show that the driven reconnection near the current sheet can occur within 10—30 min for the interplanetary high magnetic Reynolds number, RM =2 000—10 000, the stable magnetic reconnection structure can be formed in hour-order of magnitude, and there are some ba- sic properties such as the multiple X-line reconnections, vortical velocity structures, filament current systems, splitting and collapse of the high-density plasma bulk. These results are helpful in understanding and identifying the magnetic reconnection phenomena near the interplanetary current sheets.

Abstract:
Two-dimensional (2-D) particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations are performed to investigate the evolution of the electron current sheet (ECS) in guide field reconnection. The ECS is formed by electrons accelerated by the inductive electric field in the vicinity of the X line, which is then extended along the x direction due to the imbalance between the electric field force and Ampere force. The tearing instability is unstable when the ECS becomes sufficiently long and thin, and several seed islands are formed in the ECS. These tiny islands may coalesce and form a larger secondary island in the center of the diffusion region.

Abstract:
Plasma flows with an MHD-like turbulent inertial range, such as the solar wind, require a generalization of General Magnetic Reconnection (GMR) theory. We introduce the slip-velocity source vector, which gives the rate of development of slip velocity per unit arc length of field line. The slip source vector is the ratio of the curl of the non ideal electric field in the Generalized Ohm's Law and the magnetic field strength. It diverges at magnetic nulls, unifying GMR with magnetic null-point reconnection. Only under restrictive assumptions is the slip velocity related to the gradient of the quasi potential (integral of parallel electric field along field lines). In a turbulent inertial range the curl becomes extremely large while the parallel component is tiny, so that line slippage occurs even while ideal MHD becomes accurate. The resolution of this paradox is that ideal MHD is valid for a turbulent inertial-range only in a weak sense which does not imply magnetic line freezing. The notion of weak solution is explained in terms of spatial coarse-graining and renormalization group (RG) theory. We give an argument for the weak validity of the ideal Ohm's law in the inertial range, via rigorous estimates of the terms in the Generalized Ohm's Law for an electron-ion plasma. All of the nonideal terms (from collisional resistivity, Hall field, electron pressure anisotropy, and electron inertia) are shown to be irrelevant in the RG sense and large-scale reconnection is thus governed solely by ideal dynamics. We briefly discuss some implications for heliospheric reconnection, in particular for deviations from the Parker spiral model of interplanetary magnetic field. Solar wind observations show that reconnection in a turbulence broadened heliospheric current sheet, consistent with the Lazarian-Vishniac theory, leads to slip velocities that cause field lines to lag relative to the spiral model.

Abstract:
The magnetopause (MP) reconnection is characterized by a density asymmetry across the current sheet. The asymmetry is expected to produce characteristic features in the reconnection layer. Here we present a comparison between the Cluster MP crossing reported by Retinò et al. (2006) and virtual observations in two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation results. The simulation, which includes the density asymmetry but has zero guide field in the initial condition, has reproduced well the observed features as follows: (1) The prominent density dip region is detected at the separatrix region (SR) on the magnetospheric (MSP) side of the MP. (2) The intense electric field normal to the MP is pointing to the center of the MP at the location where the density dip is detected. (3) The ion bulk outflow due to the magnetic reconnection is seen to be biased towards the MSP side. (4) The out-of-plane magnetic field (the Hall magnetic field) has bipolar rather than quadrupolar structure, the latter of which is seen for a density symmetric case. The simulation also showed rich electron dynamics (formation of field-aligned beams) in the proximity of the separatrices, which was not fully resolved in the observations. Stepping beyond the simulation-observation comparison, we have also analyzed the electron acceleration and the field line structure in the simulation results. It is found that the bipolar Hall magnetic field structure is produced by the substantial drift of the reconnected field lines at the MSP SR due to the enhanced normal electric field. The field-aligned electrons at the same MSP SR are identified as the gun smokes of the electron acceleration in the close proximity of the X-line. We have also analyzed the X-line structure obtained in the simulation to find that the density asymmetry leads to a steep density gradient in the in-flow region, which may lead to a non-stationary behavior of the X-line when three-dimensional freedom is taken into account.