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A Three-dimensional Study of Reconnection, Current Sheets, and Jets Resulting from Magnetic Flux Emergence in the Sun

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Published 17 December 2004 © 2005. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A.
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We present the results of a set of three-dimensional numerical simulations of magnetic flux emergence from below the photosphere and into the corona. The corona includes a uniform and horizontal magnetic field as a model for a preexisting large-scale coronal magnetic system. Cases with different relative orientations of the upcoming and coronal fields are studied. Upon contact, a concentrated current sheet with the shape of an arch is formed at the interface that marks the positions of maximum jump in the field vector between the two systems. Relative angles above 90° yield abundant magnetic reconnection and plasma heating. The reconnection is seen to be intrinsically three-dimensional in nature and to be accompanied by marked local heating. It generates collimated high-speed outflows only a short distance from the reconnection site, and these propagate along the ambient magnetic field lines as jets. As a result of the reconnection, magnetic field lines from the magnetized plasma below the surface end up connecting to coronal field lines, thus causing a profound change in the connectivity of the magnetic regions in the corona. The experiments presented here yield a number of features repeatedly observed with the TRACE and Yohkoh satellites, such as the establishment of connectivity between emergent and preexisting active regions, local heating, and high-velocity outflows.

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