Spacecraft Observations and Analytic Theory of Crescent-Shaped Electron Distributions in Asymmetric Magnetic Reconnection.

Academic Article


  • Supported by a kinetic simulation, we derive an exclusion energy parameter E_{X} providing a lower kinetic energy bound for an electron to cross from one inflow region to the other during magnetic reconnection. As by a Maxwell demon, only high-energy electrons are permitted to cross the inner reconnection region, setting the electron distribution function observed along the low-density side separatrix during asymmetric reconnection. The analytic model accounts for the two distinct flavors of crescent-shaped electron distributions observed by spacecraft in a thin boundary layer along the low-density separatrix.
  • Authors

  • Egedal, J
  • Le, A
  • Daughton, W
  • Wetherton, B
  • Cassak, PA
  • Chen, L-J
  • Lavraud, B
  • Torbert, Roy
  • Dorelli, J
  • Gershman, DJ
  • Avanov, LA
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • October 28, 2016
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 185101
  • Volume

  • 117
  • Issue

  • 18