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Comparison between hybrid and fully kinetic models of asymmetric magnetic reconnection: Coplanar and guide field configurations
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Image of FIG. 1.

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FIG. 1.

The solid line represents the initial in-plane magnetic field profile given by Eq. (7) . The dashed line represents the initial density given by Eq. (6) .

Image of FIG. 2.

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FIG. 2.

Force balance across the current sheet for the ions (top panels) and the electrons (bottom panels) at t = 5 in the fully kinetic (left panels) and hybrid kinetic (right panels) simulations initialized with the coplanar configuration.

Image of FIG. 3.

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FIG. 3.

Force balance across the current sheet for the ions (top panels) and the electrons (bottom panels) at t = 5 in the fully kinetic (left panels) and hybrid kinetic (right panels) simulations initialized with the guide field configuration.

Image of FIG. 4.

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FIG. 4.

Top panels: Reconnection rate as a function of time for the coplanar (left) and guide field configurations (right). Bottom panels: Reconnection rate as a function of the reconnected flux φ for the coplanar (left) and guide field configurations (right). On all panels, the blue (dash-dot) and red (solid) curves are, respectively, obtained from the fully kinetic and hybrid runs sharing the same perturbation amplitude. The green curve (dash) is obtained from a hybrid run having a perturbation with an amplitude twice larger.

Image of FIG. 5.

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FIG. 5.

Out-of-plane current density at t = 35 for the fully kinetic (top panels) and hybrid runs (HG 2 and HC 1, bottom panels) in the coplanar (left panels) and guide field (right panels) configurations. The current density of the fully kinetic model has been multiplied by −1 so that it can be compared more easily with the hybrid results obtained in the different coordinate system.

Image of FIG. 6.

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FIG. 6.

Out-of-plane current density through the X point at t = 35 for the fully kinetic and hybrid runs (HG 2 and HC 1) in the coplanar and guide field configurations. For all panels, the total current density is represented in black, the ion current density in red, and the electron one in blue. As in Fig. 5 , the current densities in the results obtained from the fully kinetic code have been multiplied by −1 to ease the comparison.

Image of FIG. 7.

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FIG. 7.

Dissipation measure 24 De calculated at t = 35 for the fully kinetic (top panels) and hybrid (bottom panels) in the coplanar (left panels) and guide field (right panels) configurations. Notice that the color range is adjusted for each panel. The small blue circle denotes the position of the X point, localized as the saddle point of the magnetic flux function.

Image of FIG. 8.

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FIG. 8.

Position of the X line in the reconnection plane for the hybrid and fully kinetic model with respect to its initial position. To ease the comparison, the blue curve shows the mirror with respect to x = 0 from the actual position obtained from the hybrid model, which, otherwise be the opposite because of the different coordinate system used.


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Table I.

Summary of the simulations presented in this paper.


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Magnetic reconnection occurring in collisionless environments is a multi-scale process involving both ion and electron kinetic processes. Because of their small mass, the electron scales are difficult to resolve in numerical and satellite data, it is therefore critical to know whether the overall evolution of the reconnection process is influenced by the kinetic nature of the electrons, or is unchanged when assuming a simpler, fluid, electron model. This paper investigates this issue in the general context of an asymmetric current sheet, where both the magnetic field amplitude and the density vary through the discontinuity. A comparison is made between fully kinetic and hybrid kinetic simulations of magnetic reconnection in coplanar and guide field systems. The models share the initial condition but differ in their electron modeling. It is found that the overall evolution of the system, including the reconnection rate, is very similar between both models. The best agreement is found in the guide field system, which confines particle better than the coplanar one, where the locality of the moments is violated by the electron bounce motion. It is also shown that, contrary to the common understanding, reconnection is much faster in the guide field system than in the coplanar one. Both models show this tendency, indicating that the phenomenon is driven by ion kinetic effects and not electron ones.


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Scitation: Comparison between hybrid and fully kinetic models of asymmetric magnetic reconnection: Coplanar and guide field configurations