Department of Physics, University of Maryland
Electron Acceleration during Macroscale Magnetic Reconnection
The first self-consistent simulations of electron acceleration during magnetic reconnection in a macroscale system are presented. Consistent with solar flare observations the spectra of energetic electrons take the form of power-laws that extend more than two decades in energy. The drive mechanism for these nonthermal electrons is Fermi reflection in growing and merging magnetic flux ropes. A strong guide field is found to suppress the production of nonthermal electrons by weakening the Fermi drive mechanism. For a weak guide field the total energy content of nonthermal electrons dominates that of the hot thermal electrons even though their number density remains small. Our results are benchmarked with the hard x-ray, radio and extreme ultra-violet (EUV) observations of the X8.2-class solar flare on September 10, 2017.