Volume plot of the electron current density at different times. The initial Harris current sheet breaks in two reconnection jets, moving away from the x line. The electron current develops filamentary structures along the separatrices at later times.
Magnetic field lines at time in panel a. The color represents the magnitude of the magnetic field, normalized to the guide magnetic field . Panels b and c show the reconnection electric field, , normalized to from two different points of view at time .
Contour plots of the electron density in the region at different times. The plot shows the formation of the density cavity layers (blue regions), and the successive development of density ripples, reminiscent of Kelvin-Helmholtz vortices, along the cavities. The local magnetic field in the cavity is approximately 45° out of the presented plane.
Panel a shows the two electron density isosurface plots for (orange color) and (grey color) at time , revealing the cavities and the low density ribs within them. Panel b shows the electron density isosurface plots at successive times ( in grey, in red, in blue, and in green) for decreasing electron densities ( in grey, in red, in blue, and in green). The location of the low density ribs is approximately fixed in time, and their density progressively decreases.
Electron current streamlines in the cavity region at time . The color indicates the value, normalized to . The electron current streamlines are organized in bundle in the cavity region. The X line is along the z direction at (dashed black line). The streamlines at (left side in the x direction) and at (right side in the x direction) originate from seed lines at and . The arrows indicate the electron flow direction in the x–z plane far from the X line.
Electron density isosurface plot for with magnetic field lines in red tubes at time . The low density ribs are aligned with the magnetic field lines.
Perpendicular electric field intensity isosurface plot at time . The perpendicular electric field reaches high intensity values (approximately 4.5 the reconnection electric field) and it oscillates in space supporting the low density rib structures.
Electron density isosurface plot for in orange and grey colors with parallel electric field isosurface plot for in red and blue colors at time from two different points of view. The bipolar parallel electric field structures develop along the low density ribs and magnetic field lines direction between the cavities and the outflow regions. Supporting material is provided online to analyze this configuration from different points of view (enhanced online). [URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3697976.1]10.1063/1.3697976.1
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