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Durham University

Department of Mathematical Sciences

Academic Staff

Publication details for Peter Wyper

Kumar, Pankaj, Karpen, Judith T., Antiochos, Spiro K., Wyper, Peter F. & DeVore, C. Richard (2019). First Detection of Plasmoids from Breakout Reconnection on the Sun. The Astrophysical Journal 885(1): L15.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Transient collimated plasma ejections (jets) occur frequently throughout the solar corona, in active regions, quiet Sun, and coronal holes. Although magnetic reconnection is generally agreed to be the mechanism of energy release in jets, the factors that dictate the location and rate of reconnection remain unclear. Our previous studies demonstrated that the magnetic breakout model explains the triggering and evolution of most jets over a wide range of scales, through detailed comparisons between our numerical simulations and high-resolution observations. An alternative explanation, the resistive-kink model, invokes breakout reconnection without forming and explosively expelling a flux rope. Here we report direct observations of breakout reconnection and plasmoid formation during two jets in the fan-spine topology of an embedded bipole. For the first time, we observed the formation and evolution of multiple small plasmoids with bidirectional flows associated with fast reconnection in 3D breakout current sheets (BCSs) in the solar corona. The first narrow jet was launched by reconnection at the BCS originating at the deformed 3D null, without significant flare reconnection or a filament eruption. In contrast, the second jet and release of cool filament plasma were triggered by explosive breakout reconnection when the leading edge of the rising flux rope formed by flare reconnection beneath the filament encountered the preexisting BCS. These observations solidly support both reconnection-driven jet models: the resistive kink for the first jet, and the breakout model for the second explosive jet with a filament eruption.