Magnetic Reconnection and Magnetic Activity

  1. Edward W. Hones Jr.
  1. E. N. Parker

Published Online: 19 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM030p0032

Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas

Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas

How to Cite

Parker, E. N. (1984) Magnetic Reconnection and Magnetic Activity, in Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas (ed E. W. Hones), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM030p0032

Author Information

  1. Dept. of Physics, Dept. Of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University Of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1984

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900582

Online ISBN: 9781118664223



  • Magnetic activity;
  • Magnetic reconnection;
  • Magnetized plasma;
  • Planetary magnetospheres;
  • Reynolds number


A large-scale magnetic field extending through a highly conducting tenuous fluid may become distorted on a small-scale as a consequence of slow small-scale shuffling of the magnetic lines of force at the boundaries of the tenuous fluid. Any slow wrapping and winding introduced at the boundaries is distributed along the field (at the Alfven speed). It is a curious and little known fact that such wrapping and winding possesses no static equilibrium (except for a set of solutions of extreme symmetry). The result is neutral point reconnection of the strains in the field, rapidly dissipating the wrapping and winding. We suggest that this is the principal cause of the extreme heating that produces the active corona of the sun and other stars. The shuffling of the footpoints of the magnetic field in the photospheric turbulence introduces small-scale wrapping and twisting into the coronal loops. The work done by the turbulence in twisting the fields is dissipated within a matter 10–20 hours by neutral point reconnection, introducing heat into the corona at a rate ∼107 ergs/cm2sec for photospheric turbulence of 0.5km/sec. We suggest that this is the basic cause of the X-ray corona.