X-Point Reconnection from Shear Driving in Kinetic Simulations

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Carrie Black1, Spiro K Antiochos1, C Richard DeVore1, Kai Germaschewski2, Naoki Bessho2 and Judith T Karpen1, (1)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (2)University of New Hampshire Main Campus, Durham, NH, United States
The explosive energy release in solar eruptive phenomena such as CMEs/eruptive flares and coronal jets is believed to be due to magnetic reconnection. Magnetic free energy builds up slowly in the corona due to footpoint stressing by the photospheric motions. Along with the free energy, current sheets build up at coronal nulls, which eventually triggers fast reconnection and explosive energy release. This basic scenario has been modeled extensively by MHD simulations and applied to both CMEs/eruptive flares and jets, but the reconnection itself is well-known to be due to kinetic processes. Consequently, it is imperative that shear-driven X-point reconnection be modeled in a fully kinetic system so as to test and guide the MHD results. In MHD simulations, the application of a magnetic-field shear at the system boundary is a trivial matter, but this is definitely not the case for a kinetic system, because the electric currents need to be fully consistent with all the mass motions. We present the first results of reconnection in a 2D X-Point geometry due to a velocity shear driver perpendicular to the plane of reconnection. We compare the results to high-resolution MHD simulations and discuss the implications for coronal activity.