Context. Oscillatory reconnection is a time-dependent magnetic reconnection mechanism that naturally produces periodic outputs from aperiodic drivers. Aims. This paper aims to quantify and measure the periodic nature of oscillatory reconnection for the first time. Methods. We solve the compressible, resistive, nonlinear magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) equations using 2.5D numerical simulations. Results. We identify two distinct periodic regimes: the impulsive and stationary phases. In the impulsive phase, we find the greater the amplitude of the initial velocity driver, the longer the resultant current sheet and the earlier its formation. In the stationary phase, we find that the oscillations are exponentially decaying and for driving amplitudes 6.3−126.2 kms−1, we measure stationary-phase periods in the range 56.3−78.9 s, i.e. these are high frequency (0.01−0.02 Hz) oscillations. In both phases, we find that the greater the amplitude of the initial velocity driver, the shorter the resultant period, but note that different physical processes and periods are associated with both phases. Conclusions. We conclude that the oscillatory reconnection mechanism behaves akin to a damped harmonic oscillator.
- Magnetic reconnection