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Evidence of Magnetic Nulls in Electron Diffusion Region
Beihang Univ, Sch Space & Environm, Beijing, Peoples R China.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4701-7219
Beihang Univ, Sch Space & Environm, Beijing, Peoples R China.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5637-2976
Beihang Univ, Sch Space & Environm, Beijing, Peoples R China.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5605-9445
Beihang Univ, Sch Space & Environm, Beijing, Peoples R China.
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2019 (English)In: Geophysical Research Letters, ISSN 0094-8276, E-ISSN 1944-8007, Vol. 46, no 1, p. 48-54Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Theoretically, magnetic reconnection—the process responsible for solar flares and magnetospheric substorms—occurs at the X‐line or radial null in the electron diffusion region (EDR). However, whether this theory is correct is unknown, because the radial null (X‐line) has never been observed inside the EDR due to the lack of efficient techniques and the scarcity of EDR measurements. Here we report such evidence, using data from the recent MMS mission and the newly developed First‐Order Taylor Expansion (FOTE) Expansion technique. We investigate 12 EDR candidates at the Earth's magnetopause and find radial nulls (X‐lines) in all of them. In some events, spacecraft are only 3 km (one electron inertial length) away from the null. We reconstruct the magnetic topology of these nulls and find it agrees well with theoretical models. These nulls, as reconstructed for the first time inside the EDR by the FOTE technique, indicate that the EDR is active and the reconnection process is ongoing.

Plain Language Summary: Magnetic reconnection is a key process responsible for many explosive phenomena in nature such as solar flares and magnetospheric substorms. Theoretically, such process occurs at the X‐line or radial null in the electron diffusion region (EDR). However, whether this theory is correct is still unknown, because the radial null (X‐line) has never been observed inside the EDR due to the lack of efficient technique and the scarcity of EDR measurements. Here we report such evidence, using data from the recent MMS mission and the newly developed FOTE technique.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2000 Florida Ave NW Washington, DC 20009, USA: American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2019. Vol. 46, no 1, p. 48-54
Keywords [en]
Electron diffusion region, Magnetic null, Magnetic reconnection, FOTE method, Magnetic topology, Reconstruction
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-253246DOI: 10.1029/2018GL080449ISI: 000456938600006Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85059894810OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-253246DiVA, id: diva2:1325051
Available from: 2019-06-14 Created: 2019-06-14 Last updated: 2019-06-18Bibliographically approved

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Vaivads, AndrisKhotyaintsev, Yuri V.

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Fu, H. S.Cao, J. B.Cao, D.Vaivads, AndrisKhotyaintsev, Yuri V.Burch, J. L.Huang, S. Y.
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