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In situ spacecraft observations of a structured electron diffusion region during magnetopause reconnection
Univ Paris Sud, Sorbonne Univ, Observ Paris, Lab Phys Plasmas,CNRS,Ecole Polytech, F-91128 Palaiseau, France.;Univ Pisa, Dipartimento Fis E Fermi, I-56127 Pisa, Italy..
Univ Paris Sud, Sorbonne Univ, Observ Paris, Lab Phys Plasmas,CNRS,Ecole Polytech, F-91128 Palaiseau, France..
Univ Pisa, Dipartimento Fis E Fermi, I-56127 Pisa, Italy..
Univ Paris Sud, Sorbonne Univ, Observ Paris, Lab Phys Plasmas,CNRS,Ecole Polytech, F-91128 Palaiseau, France..
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2019 (English)In: Physical review. E, ISSN 2470-0045, E-ISSN 2470-0053, Vol. 99, no 4, article id 043204Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The electron diffusion region (EDR) is the region where magnetic reconnection is initiated and electrons are energized. Because of experimental difficulties, the structure of the EDR is still poorly understood. A key question is whether the EDR has a homogeneous or patchy structure. Here we report Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft observations providing evidence of inhomogeneous current densities and energy conversion over a few electron inertial lengths within an EDR at the terrestrial magnetopause, suggesting that the EDR can be rather structured. These inhomogenenities are revealed through multipoint measurements because the spacecraft separation is comparable to a few electron inertial lengths, allowing the entire MMS tetrahedron to be within the EDR most of the time. These observations are consistent with recent high-resolution and low-noise kinetic simulations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
AMER PHYSICAL SOC , 2019. Vol. 99, no 4, article id 043204
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Physical Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-249783DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.99.043204ISI: 000463898200002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85064403029OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-249783DiVA, id: diva2:1307625
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QC 20190429

Available from: 2019-04-29 Created: 2019-04-29 Last updated: 2019-06-18Bibliographically approved

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Vaivads, AndrisLindqvist, Per-Arne

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