The Effect of a Guide Field on the Structures of Magnetic Islands: 2D PIC Simulations
Monday, 15 December 2014
Magnetic island plays an important role in magnetic reconnection. Using a series of 2D PIC simulations, we investigate the magnetic structures of a magnetic island formed during multiple X-line magnetic reconnection, considering the effects of the guide field in symmetric and asymmetric current sheets. In a symmetric current sheet, the current in the direction forms a tripolar structure inside a magnetic island during anti-parallel reconnection, which results in a quadrupole structure of the out-of-plane magnetic field. With the increase of the guide field, the symmetry of both the current system and out-of-plane magnetic field inside the magnetic island is distorted. When the guide field is sufficiently strong, the current forms a ring along the magnetic field lines inside magnetic island. At the same time, the current carried by the energetic electrons accelerated in the vicinity of the X lines forms another ring at the edge of the magnetic island. Such a dual-ring current system enhance the out-of-plane magnetic field inside the magnetic island with a dip in the center of the magnetic island. In an asymmetric current sheet, when there is no guide field, electrons flows toward the X lines along the separatrices from the side with a higher density, and are then directed away from the X lines along the separatrices to the side with a lower density. The formed current results in the enhancement of the out-of-plane magnetic field at one end of the magnetic island, and the attenuation at the other end. With the increase of the guide field, the structures of both the current system and the out-of-plane magnetic field are distorted.