Fast magnetic reconnection: The "ideal" tearing instability in classic, Hall, and relativistic plasmas.
Magnetic reconnection is believed to be the driver of many explosive phenomena in Astrophysics, from solar to gamma-ray flares in magnetars and in the Crab nebula. However, reconnection rates from classic MHD models are far too slow to explain such observations. Recently, it was realized that when a current sheet gets sufficiently thin, the reconnection rate of the tearing instability becomes "ideal", in the sense that the current sheet destabilizes on the "macroscopic" Alfv\'enic timescales, regardless of the Lundquist number of the plasma. Here we present 2D compressible MHD simulations in the classical, Hall, and relativistic regimes. In particular, the onset of secondary tearing instabilities is investigated within Hall-MHD for the first time. In the frame of relativistic MHD, we summarize the main results from Del Zanna et al. : the relativistic tearing instability is found to be extremely fast, with reconnection rates of the order of the inverse of the light crossing time, as required to explain the high-energy explosive phenomena.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.10534