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The Role of the Parallel Electric Field in Electron-Scale Dissipation at Reconnecting Currents in the Magnetosheath
Univ Colorado, Atmospher & Space Phys Lab, Campus Box 392, Boulder, CO 80309 USA..
Univ Colorado, Atmospher & Space Phys Lab, Campus Box 392, Boulder, CO 80309 USA.;Univ Colorado, Dept Astrophys & Planetary Sci, Boulder, CO 80309 USA..
Southwest Res Inst, San Antonio, TX USA..
Univ Colorado, Atmospher & Space Phys Lab, Campus Box 392, Boulder, CO 80309 USA..
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2018 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research - Space Physics, ISSN 2169-9380, E-ISSN 2169-9402, Vol. 123, no 8, p. 6533-6547Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We report observations from the Magnetospheric Multiscale satellites of reconnecting current sheets in the magnetosheath over a range of out-of-plane "guide" magnetic field strengths. The currents exhibit nonideal energy conversion in the electron frame of reference, and the events are within the ion diffusion region within close proximity (a few electron skin depths) to the electron diffusion region. The study focuses on energy conversion on the electron scale only. At low guide field (antiparallel reconnection), electric fields and currents perpendicular to the magnetic field dominate the energy conversion. Additionally, electron distributions exhibit significant nongyrotropy. As the guide field increases, the electric field parallel to the background magnetic field becomes increasingly strong, and the electron nongyrotropy becomes less apparent. We find that even with a guide field less than half the reconnecting field, the parallel electric field and currents dominate the dissipation. This suggests that parallel electric fields are more important to energy conversion in reconnection than previously thought and that at high guide field, the physics governing magnetic reconnection are significantly different from antiparallel reconnection.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2018. Vol. 123, no 8, p. 6533-6547
Keywords [en]
reconnection, magnetosheath, electric fields, diffusion region, current sheets
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-236025DOI: 10.1029/2018JA025529ISI: 000445731300028Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85052645647OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-236025DiVA, id: diva2:1255487
Note

QC 20181012

Available from: 2018-10-12 Created: 2018-10-12 Last updated: 2018-10-12Bibliographically approved

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Lindqvist, Per-Arne

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