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Extended magnetic reconnection across the dayside magnetopause

Extended magnetic reconnection across the dayside magnetopause

Publication date: 07 July 2011

Authors: Dunlop, M.W., et al.

Journal: Phys. Rev. Lett.
Volume: 107
Page: 025004
Year: 2011

Copyright: American Physical Society

The extent of where magnetic reconnection (MR), the dominant process responsible for energy and plasma transport into the magnetosphere, operates across Earth's dayside magnetopause has previously been only indirectly shown by observations. We report the first direct evidence of X-line structure resulting from the operation of MR at each of two widely separated locations along the tilted, subsolar line of maximum current on Earth's magnetopause, confirming the operation of MR at two or more sites across the extended region where MR is expected to occur. The evidence results from in-situ observations of the associated ion and electron plasma distributions, present within each magnetic X-line structure, taken by two spacecraft passing through the active MR regions simultaneously.

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