Oscillatory reconnection and waves driven by merging magnetic flux ropes in solar flares

James Stewart, Philippa Browning, Mykola Gordovskyy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oscillatory reconnection is a process that has been suggested to underlie several solar and stellar phenomena, and is likely to play an important role in transient events such as flares. Quasi-periodic pulsations (QPPs) in flare emissions may be a manifestation of oscillatory reconnection, but the underlying mechanisms remain uncertain. In this paper, we present 2D magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of two current-carrying magnetic flux ropes with an out-of-plane magnetic field undergoing oscillatory reconnection in which the two flux ropes merge into a single flux rope. We find that oscillatory reconnection can occur intrinsically without an external oscillatory driver during flux rope coalescence, which may occur both during large-scale coronal loop interactions and the merging of plasmoids in fragmented current sheets. Furthermore, we demonstrate that radially propagating non-linear waves are produced in the aftermath of flux rope coalescence, due to the post-reconnection oscillations of the merged flux rope. The behaviour of these waves is found to be almost independent of the initial out-of-plane magnetic field. It is estimated that the waves emitted through merging coronal loops and merging plasmoids in loop-top current sheets would have a typical phase speed of 90 km/s and 900 km/s respectively. It is possible that the properties of the waves emitted during flux rope coalescence could be used as a diagnostic tool to determine physical parameters within a coalescing region.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 May 2022


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