Theoretical Studies of Energy Conversion in Magnetic Reconnection

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 2:34 PM
Paul Cassak, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, United States
During magnetic reconnection, magnetic energy is converted into motional energy of the plasma. In addition to long-standing questions about the rate at which reconnection processes magnetic flux, there has been recent experimental, observational, and theoretical interest to understand how the converted energy is partitioned - how much energy flowing into the immediate surroundings of the reconnection site leaves the dissipation region as kinetic energy, how much leaves as thermal energy, and how much leaves as non-thermal energy. The energy partition depends on system parameters, so energy conversion in disparate systems where reconnection occurs, such as solar eruptions, the solar wind, and planetary magnetospheres, can be manifested very differently. In this presentation, recent theoretical and numerical efforts to understand the partition of energy conversion will be discussed. How energy conversion near the reconnection site relates to energy conversion outside the reconnection site will be briefly discussed.