Magnetic Reconnection in Astrophysical Environments

Type Conference Paper
Names Alex Lazarian, Gregory L. Eyink, Ethan T. Vishniac, Grzegorz Kowal
Conference Name Astrophysics and Space Science Library
Place eprint: arXiv:1407.6356
Volume 407
Pages 311
Date 2015
DOI 10.1007/978-3-662-44625-6_12
Library Catalog
Abstract Magnetic reconnection is a process that changes magnetic field topology in highly conducting fluids. Traditionally, magnetic reconnection was associated mostly with solar flares. In reality, the process must be ubiquitous as astrophysical fluids are magnetized and motions of fluid elements necessarily entail crossing of magnetic frozen in field lines and magnetic reconnection. We consider magnetic reconnection in realistic 3D geometry in the presence of turbulence. This turbulence in most astrophysical settings is of pre-existing nature, but it also can be induced by magnetic reconnection itself. In this situation turbulent magnetic field wandering opens up reconnection outflow regions, making reconnection fast. We discuss Lazarian and Vishniac (1999) model of turbulent reconnection, its numerical and observational testings, as well as its connection to the modern understanding of the Lagrangian properties of turbulent fluids. We show that the predicted dependences of the reconnection rates on the level of MHD turbulence make the generally accepted Goldreich and Sridhar (1995) model of turbulence self-consistent. Similarly, we argue that the well-known Alfvén theorem on flux freezing is not valid for the turbulent fluids and therefore magnetic fields diffuse within turbulent volumes. This is an element of magnetic field dynamics that was not accounted by earlier theories. For instance, the theory of star formation that was developing assuming that it is only the drift of neutrals that can violate the otherwise perfect flux freezing, is affected and we discuss the consequences of the turbulent diffusion of magnetic fields mediated by reconnection. Finally, we briefly address the first order Fermi acceleration induced by magnetic reconnection in turbulent fluids.
Tags Physics
UW-Madison Astronomy Home