MMS Observation of Asymmetric Reconnection Supported by 3-D Electron Pressure Divergence

Academic Article


  • We identify a dayside electron diffusion region (EDR) encountered by the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission and estimate the terms in generalized Ohm's law that controlled energy conversion near the X-point. MMS crossed the moderate-shear (130 degrees) magnetopause southward of the exact X-point. MMS likely entered the magnetopause far from the X-point, outside the EDR, as the size of the reconnection layer was less than but comparable to the magnetosheath proton gyro-radius, and also as anisotropic gyrotropic "outflow" crescent electron distributions were observed. MMS then approached the X-point, where all four spacecraft simultaneously observed signatures of the EDR, e.g., an intense out-of-plane electron current, moderate electron agyrotropy, intense electron anisotropy, non-ideal electric fields, non-ideal energy conversion, etc. We find that the electric field associated with the non-ideal energy conversion is (a) well described by the sum of the electron inertial and pressure divergence terms in generalized Ohms law though (b) the pressure divergence term dominates the inertial term by roughly a factor of 5:1, (c) both the gyrotropic and agyrotropic pressure forces contribute to energy conversion at the X-point, and (d) both out-of-the-reconnection-plane gradients (d/dM) and in-plane (d/dL,N) in the pressure tensor contribute to energy conversion near the X-point. This indicates that this EDR had some electron-scale structure in the out-of-plane direction during the time when (and at the location where) the reconnection site was observed.
  • Authors

  • Genestreti, KJ
  • Varsani, A
  • Burch, JL
  • Cassak, PA
  • Torbert, Roy
  • Nakamura, R
  • Ergun, RE
  • Phan, T-D
  • Toledo-Redondo, S
  • Hesse, M
  • Wang, S
  • Giles, BL
  • Russell, CT
  • Voros, Z
  • Hwang, K-J
  • Eastwood, JP
  • Lavraud, B
  • Escoubet, CP
  • Fear, RC
  • Khotyaintsev, Y
  • Nakamura, TKM
  • Webster, JM
  • Baumjohann, W
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • March 2018
  • Published In


  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 1806
  • End Page

  • 1821
  • Volume

  • 123
  • Issue

  • 3