Energetic Particles in the Heliosphere: from the Sun to Planetary Atmospheres
The effects of ion mass variation and domain size on octupolar out-of-plane magnetic field generation in collisionless magnetic reconnection
Jan Graf von der Pahlen
David Tsiklauri
Queen Mary University, London
Graf von der Pahlen and Tsiklauri [Phys. Plasmas 21, 060705 (2014)] established that the generation of octupolar out-of-plane magnetic field structure in a stressed X-point collapse is due to ion currents. The field has a central region, comprising of the well-known quadrupolar field (quadrupolar components), as well as four additional poles of reversed polarity closer to the corners of the domain (octupolar components). In this extended work, the dependence of the octupolar structure on domain size and ion mass variation is investigated. Simulations show that the strength and spatial structure of the generated octupolar magnetic field is independent of ion to electron mass ratio; thus showing that ion currents play a significant role in out-of-plane magnetic structure generation in physically realistic scenarios. Simulations of different system sizes show that the width of the octupolar structure remains the same and has a spacial extent of the order of the ion inertial length. The width of the structure thus appears to be independent on boundary condition effects. The length of the octupolar structure, however, increases for greater domain sizes, prescribed by the external system size. This was found to be a consequence of the structure of the in-plane magnetic field in the outflow region halting the particle flow and thus terminating the in-plane currents that generate the out-of-plane field. The generation of octupolar magnetic field structure is also established in a tearing-mode reconnection scenario. The differences in the generation of the octupolar field and resulting qualitative differences between X-point collapse and tearing-mode are discussed.


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