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Graduate Student Seminar - 02/15/2013

"The 3D Structure of Magnetic Islands Generated by Reconnection"

by Joel Dahlin

Friday, February 15, 2013 -- 12:00 p.m.
Large Conference Room, 1207 Energy Research Facility

Advisor:  Professor James Drake

Magnetic reconnection is a plasma process which converts magnetic energy into kinetic energy through a change in magnetic topology. This generates magnetic islands: self-enclosed bundles of magnetic field. In two dimensions, these islands effectively trap particles. We present large 3D simulations of magnetic islands with structure that differs significantly from the 2D picture. Test particles spend few orbits in any given island before escaping and undergo diffusive transport in a system of many islands. Recent work suggests the Voyager spacecraft, currently in the heliosheath, is passing through a 'bath' of these islands. The simulation results may prove useful for understanding particle transport in this region.

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