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Nordita Astrophysics seminars

Stability of currents and energization of electrons during magnetic reconnection in the context of the solar atmosphere and Earth's magnetosphere

by Philippe Bourdin (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Flux emergence from the solar surface causes a global reconfiguration of the magnetic topology. Subsequently, this induces electric currents by acceleration of charged particles, in particular electrons. The rate of the reconnection determines also the nature of the magnetic energy dissipation mechanism, be it more nanoflare-like heating or a more steady magnetic diffusion, which is still debated in solar physics. Usually, MHD models implement a simple diffusion equation to describe this magnetic energy dissipation and only with a plasma-kinetic treatment once can actually check this assumption. In a PIC simulation of anti-parallel magnetic reconnection, we can follow the actual energization of electrons and the dissipation of the resulting non-Maxwellian velocity distributions on spatial and temporal scales that are otherwise inaccessible to a fluid-dynamics approach.