Particle acceleration at an X-type reconnection site with a parallel magnetic field

P. K. Browning, G. E. Vekstein

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    The acceleration of charged particles at a two-dimensional magnetic reconnection site is investigated. The magnetic field has an X-type neutral point, while reconnection is driven by a uniform transverse electric field; the effect of including a uniform magnetic field component parallel to the driving electric field and transverse to the plane of the X point is studied. We focus on the adiabatic motion of strongly magnetized particles, a valid assumption everywhere for sufficiently strong parallel magnetic fields but one which excludes a region around the neutral point for weaker fields. The regime of interest is fast driven reconnection, in which the electric drift is strong. The trajectories of particles and their dependence on the magnitude of the parallel magnetic field component are investigated. Particles can be accelerated along the magnetic field lines both because of the coupling of the perpendicular electric drift with the parallel motion, which occurs in an inhomogeneous magnetic field, and the direct acceleration by the electric field. The energy spectra of particles leaving the reconnection site are also calculated. Copyright 2001 by the American Geophysical Union.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2001JA900014
    Pages (from-to)18677-18692
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2001


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