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The reconnection of magnetic fields is one of the most fascinating processes in plasma physics, responsible for phenomena such as solar flares and magnetospheric substorms. The concept of reconnection has developed through recent advances in exploring the magnetospheres of the Sun and Earth through theory, computer simulations and spacecraft observations.
The great challenge in understanding it stems from balancing the large volumes of plasma and magnetic fields involved with the energy release with the physical mechanism which relies on the strongly localized behavior of charged particles. This book, edited by and with contributions from leading scientists in the field, provides a comprehensive overview of recent theoretical and observational findings concerning the physics of reconnection and the complex structures that may give rise to, or develop from, reconnection. It is intended for researchers and graduate students interested in the dynamics of plasmas.
Preface; Part I. Introduction: 1.1 The Sun E. R. Priest; 1.2 Earth's magnetosphere J. Birn; Part II. Basic Theory of MHD Reconnection: 2.1 Classical theory of two-dimensional reconnection T. G. Forbes; 2.2 Fundamental concepts G. Hornig; 2.3 Three-dimensional reconnection in the absence of magnetic null points G. Hornig; 2.4 Three-dimensional reconnection at magnetic null points D. Pontin; 2.5 Three-dimensional flux tube reconnection M. Linton; Part III. Basic Theory of Collisionless Reconnection: 3.1 Fundamentals of collisionless reconnection J. Drake; 3.2 Diffusion region physics M. Hesse; 3.3 Onset of magnetic reconnection P. Pritchett; 3.4 Hall-MHD reconnection A. Bhattacharjee and J. Dorelli; 3.5 Role of current-aligned instabilities J. Buchner and W. Daughton; 3.6 Nonthermal particle acceleration M. Hoshino; Part IV. Reconnection in the Magnetosphere: 4.1 Reconnection at the magnetopause: concepts and models J. G. Dorelli and A. Bhattacharjee; 4.2 Observations of magnetopause reconnection K.-H. Trattner; 4.3 On the stability of the magnetotail K. Schindler; 4.4 Simulations of reconnection in the magnetotail J. Birn; 4.5 Observations of tail reconnection W. Baumjohann and R. Nakamura; 4.6 Remote sensing of reconnection M. Freeman; Part V. Reconnection in the Sun's Atmosphere: 5.1 Coronal heating E. R. Priest; 5.2 Separator reconnection D. Longcope; 5.3 Pinching of coronal fields V. Titov; 5.4 Numerical experiments on coronal heating K. Galsgaard; 5.5 Solar flares K. Kusano; 5.6 Particle acceleration in flares: theory T. Neukirch; 5.7 Fast particles in flares: observations L. Fletcher; 6. Open problems J. Birn and E. R. Priest; Bibliography; Index.
Joachim Birn is a staff member in the Space Science and Applications Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He was made a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2000. Eric Priest is the James Gregory Professor of Mathematics at St Andrews University. He is currently Vice President of the Royal Astronomical Society.
'The book should prove useful to many workers in this area and related areas.' Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics