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Super-Alfvénic Propagation of Substorm Reconnection Signature and Poynting Flux

Super-Alfvénic Propagation of Substorm Reconnection Signature and Poynting Flux

Publication date: 02 July 2011

Authors: Shay, M.A., et al.

Journal: Physical Review Letters
Volume: 107
Issue: 6
Page: 5
Year: 2011

Copyright: 2011 American Physical Society

The propagation of reconnection signatures and their associated energy are examined using kinetic particle-in-cell simulations and Cluster satellite observations. It is found that the quadrupolar out-of-plane magnetic field near the separatrices is associated with a kinetic Alfvén wave. For magnetotail parameters, the parallel propagation of this wave is super-Alfvénic (V||<~1500-5500 km/s) and generates substantial Poynting flux (S~10-5-10-4 W/m2) consistent with Cluster observations of magnetic reconnection. This Poynting flux substantially exceeds that due to frozen-in ion bulk outflows and is sufficient to generate white light aurora in Earth's ionosphere.

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