Electron dynamics surrounding the X-line in asymmetric magnetic reconnection [CL]


Electron dynamics surrounding the X-line in magnetopause-type asymmetric reconnection is investigated using a two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation. We study electron properties of three characteristic regions in the vicinity of the X-line. The fluid properties, velocity distribution functions (VDFs), and orbits are studied and cross-compared. In the low-$\beta$ side of the X-line, the normal electric field enhances the electron meandering motion from the high-$\beta$ side. The motion leads to a crescent-shaped component in the electron VDF, in agreement with recent studies. In the high-$\beta$ side of the X-line, the magnetic field line is so stretched in the third dimension that its curvature radius is comparable with typical electron Larmor radius. The electron motion becomes nonadiabatic, and therefore the electron idealness is no longer expected to hold. Around the middle of the outflow regions, the electron nonidealness is coincident with the region of the nonadiabatic motion. Finally, we introduce a finite-time mixing fraction (FTMF) to evaluate electron mixing. The FTMF marks the low-$\beta$ side of the X-line, where the nonideal energy dissipation occurs.

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S. Zenitani, H. Hasegawa and T. Nagai
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: Comments are welcome

Chaos Control with Ion Propulsion [CL]


The escape dynamics around the triangular Lagrangian point L5 in the real Sun-Earth-Moon-Spacecraft system is investigated. Appearance of the finite time chaotic behaviour suggests that widely used methods and concepts of dynamical system theory can be useful in constructing a desired mission design. Existing chaos control methods are modified in such a way that we are able to protect a test particle from escape. We introduce initial condition maps in order to have a suitable numerical method to describe the motion in high dimensional phase space. Results show that the structure of initial condition maps can be split into two well-defined domains. One of these two parts has a regular contiguous shape and is responsible for long time escape; it is a long-lived island. The other one shows a filamentary fractal structure in initial condition maps. The short time escape is governed by this object. This study focuses on a low-cost method which successfully transfers a reference trajectory between these two regions using an appropriate continuous control force. A comparison of the Earth-Moon transfer is also presented to show the efficiency of our method.

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J. Sliz, T. Kovacs and A. Suli
Thu, 23 Feb 17

Comments: 14 pages, 11 figures, accepted for publication in Astronomische Nachrichten

Sheath-Accumulating Propagation of Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejection [SSA]


Fast interplanetary coronal mass ejections (interplanetary CMEs, or ICMEs) are the drivers of strongest space weather storms such as solar energetic particle events and geomagnetic storms. The connection between space weather impacting solar wind disturbances associated with fast ICMEs at Earth and the characteristics of causative energetic CMEs observed near the Sun is a key question in the study of space weather storms as well as in the development of practical space weather prediction. Such shock-driving fast ICMEs usually expand at supersonic speed during the propagation, resulting in the continuous accumulation of shocked sheath plasma ahead. In this paper, we propose the “sheath-accumulating propagation” (SAP) model that describe the coevolution of the interplanetary sheath and decelerating ICME ejecta by taking into account the process of upstream solar wind plasma accumulation within the sheath region. Based on the SAP model, we discussed (1) ICME deceleration characteristics, (2) the fundamental condition for fast ICME at Earth, (3) thickness of interplanetary sheath, (4) arrival time prediction and (5) the super-intense geomagnetic storms associated with huge solar flares. We quantitatively show that not only speed but also mass of the CME are crucial in discussing the above five points. The similarities and differences among the SAP model, the drag-based model and the`snow-plough’ model proposed by \citet{tappin2006} are also discussed.

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T. Takahashi and K. Shibata
Thu, 23 Feb 17

Comments: 20 pages, 5 figures, accepted for publication in ApJL

The Twist of the Draped Interstellar Magnetic Field Ahead of the Heliopause: A Magnetic Reconnection Driven Rotational Discontinuity [CL]


Based on the difference between the orientation of the interstellar $B_{ISM}$ and the solar magnetic fields, there was an expectation that the magnetic field direction would rotate dramatically across the heliopause (HP). However, the Voyager 1 spacecraft measured very little rotation across the HP. Previously we showed that the $B_{ISM}$ twists as it approaches the HP and acquires a strong T component (East-West). Here we establish that reconnection in the eastern flank of the heliosphere is responsible for the twist. On the eastern flank the solar magnetic field has twisted into the positive N direction and reconnects with the Southward pointing component of the $B_{ISM}$. Reconnection drives a rotational discontinuity (RD) that twists the $B_{ISM}$ into the -T direction and propagates upstream in the interstellar medium towards the nose. The consequence is that the N component of $B_{ISM}$ is reduced in a finite width band upstream of the HP. Voyager 1 currently measures angles ($\delta=sin^{-1}(B_{N}/B)$) close to solar values. We present MHD simulations to support this scenario, suppressing reconnection in the nose region while allowing it in the flanks, consistent with recent ideas about reconnection suppression from diamagnetic drifts. The jump in plasma $\beta$ (the plasma to magnetic pressure) across the nose of HP is much greater than in the flanks because the heliosheath $\beta$ is greater there than in the flanks. Large-scale reconnection is therefore suppressed in the nose but not at the flanks. Simulation data suggest that $B_{ISM}$ will return to its pristine value $10-15~AU$ past the HP.

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M. Opher, J. Drake, M. Swisdak, et. al.
Wed, 22 Feb 17

Comments: 19 pages, 5 figures, submitted

How Anomalous Resistivity Accelerates Magnetic Reconnection [CL]


Whether Turbulence-induced anomalous resistivity (AR) can facilitate a fast magnetic reconnection in collisionless plasma is a subject of active debate for decades. A particularly difficult problem in experimental and numerical simulation studies of the problem is how to distinguish the effects of AR from those originating from Hall-effect and other non-turbulent processes in the generalized Ohm’s. In this paper, using particle-in-cell simulations, we present a case study of how AR produced by Buneman Instability accelerates magnetic reconnection. We first show that in a thin current layer, the AR produced by Buneman instability spontaneously breaks the magnetic field lines and causes impulsive fast non-Hall magnetic line annihilation on electron-scales with a rate reaching 0.6~$V_A$. However, the electron-scale magnetic line annihilation is not a necessary condition for the dissipation of magnetic energy, but rather a result of the inhomogeneity of the AR. On the other hand, the inhomogeneous drag arising from a Buneman instability driven by the intense electron beams at the x-line in a 3D magnetic reconnection can drive in the electron diffusion region electron-scale magnetic line annihilation. The electron-scale annihilations play an essential role in accelerating the magnetic reconnection with a rate two times faster than the non-turbulent Hall-dominated 2D magnetic reconnection. The reconnection rate is enhanced around the x-line, and the coupling between the AR carried out by the reconnection outflow and the Hall effect leads to the breaking of the symmetric structure of the ion diffusion region and the enhancement of the outward Poynting flux.

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H. Che
Tue, 21 Feb 17

Comments: submitted to Physics of Plasma

A Maximum Entropy Principle for inferring the Distribution of 3D Plasmoids [HEAP]


The Principle of Maximum Entropy, a powerful and general method for inferring the distribution function given a set of constraints, is applied to deduce the overall distribution of plasmoids (flux ropes/tubes). The analysis is undertaken for the general 3D case, with mass, total flux and (3D) velocity serving as the variables of interest, on account of their physical and observational relevance. The distribution functions for the mass, width, total flux and helicity exhibit a power-law behavior with exponents of $-4/3$, $-2$, $-3$ and $-2$ respectively for small values, whilst all of them display an exponential falloff for large values. In contrast, the velocity distribution, as a function of $v = |{\bf v}|$, is shown to be flat for $v \rightarrow 0$, and becomes a power law with an exponent of $-7/3$ for $v \rightarrow \infty$. Most of these results exhibit a high degree of universality, as they are nearly independent of the free parameters. A preliminary comparison of our results with the observational evidence is presented, and some of the ensuing space and astrophysical implications are discussed.

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M. Lingam, L. Comisso and A. Bhattacharjee
Tue, 21 Feb 17

Comments: 15 pages, 6 figures

Experimental overview on Future Solar and Heliospheric research [CL]


Solar and heliospheric cosmic rays provide a unique perspective in cosmic ray research: we can observe not only the particles, but also the properties of the plasmas in which the they are accelerated and propagate, using in situ and high-resolution remote sensing instruments. The heliospheric cosmic ray observations typically require space missions, which face stern competition against planetary and astrophysics missions, and it can take up to decades from the initial concept proposal until the actual observing of the cosmic rays can commence. Therefore it is important to have continuity in the cosmic ray mission timeline. In this overview, we review the current status and the future outlook in the experimental solar and heliospheric research. We find that the current status of the available cosmic ray observations is good, but that many of the spacecraft are near the end of their feasible mission life. We describe the three missions currently being prepared for launch, and discuss the future outlook of the solar and heliospheric cosmic ray missions.

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T. Laitinen
Mon, 20 Feb 17

Comments: XXV ECRS 2016 Proceedings – eConf C16-09-04.3