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Magnetic Reconnection in the Near Venusian Magnetotail

Magnetic Reconnection in the Near Venusian Magnetotail

Publication date: 05 May 2012

Authors: Zhang, T.L., et al.

Journal: Science
Volume: 336
Issue: 6081
Page: 567-570
Year: 2012

Copyright: AAAS

Published online 5 April 2012, in Science Express

Observations with the Venus Express magnetometer and low-energy particle detector revealed magnetic field and plasma behaviour in the near-Venus wake symptomatic of magnetic reconnection, a process that occurs in the Earth's magnetotail but is not expected in the magnetotail of a non-magnetized planet like Venus. On 15 May 2006, the plasma flow in this region was toward the planet and the magnetic field component transverse to the flow was reversed. Magnetic reconnection is a plasma process that changes the topology of the magnetic field and results in energy exchange between the magnetic field and the plasma. Thus, the energetics of the Venus magnetotail resembles that of the terrestrial tail where energy is stored and later released from the magnetic field to the plasma.

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