The Astrophysical Journal. Letters vol:810 issue:2 pages:.-.
The long-term evolution of large domain particle-in-cell simulations of collisionless magnetic reconnection is investigated following observations that show two possible outcomes for collisionless reconnection: toward a Petschek-like configuration or toward multiple X points. In the present simulation, a mixed scenario develops. At earlier time, plasmoids are emitted, disrupting the formation of Petschek-like structures. Later, an almost stationary monster plasmoid forms, preventing the emission of other plasmoids. A situation reminiscent of Petschek’s switch- off then ensues. Switch-off is obtained through a slow shock/rotational discontinuity compound structure. Two external slow shocks (SS) located at the separatrices reduce the in-plane tangential component of the magnetic field, but not to zero. Two transitions reminiscent of rotational discontinuities (RD) in the internal part of the exhaust then perform the final switch-off. Both the SS and the RD are characterized through analysis of their Rankine–Hugoniot jump conditions. A moderate guide field is used to suppress the development of the firehose instability in the exhaust.