Extended magnetic reconnection at the Earth's magnetopause from detection of bi-directional jets

Academic Article


  • Magnetic reconnection is a process that converts magnetic energy into bi-directional plasma jets; it is believed to be the dominant process by which solar-wind energy enters the Earth's magnetosphere. This energy is subsequently dissipated by magnetic storms and aurorae. Previous single-spacecraft observations revealed only single jets at the magnetopause--while the existence of a counter-streaming jet was implicitly assumed, no experimental confirmation was available. Here we report in situ two-spacecraft observations of bi-directional jets at the magnetopause, finding evidence for a stable and extended reconnection line; the latter implies substantial entry of the solar wind into the magnetosphere. We conclude that reconnection is determined by large-scale interactions between the solar wind and the magnetosphere, rather than by local conditions at the magnetopause.
  • Authors

  • Phan, TD
  • Kistler, Lynn
  • Klecker, B
  • Haerendel, G
  • Paschmann, G
  • Sonnerup, BU
  • Baumjohann, W
  • Bavassano-Cattaneo, MB
  • Carlson, CW
  • DiLellis, AM
  • Fornacon, KH
  • Frank, LA
  • Fujimoto, M
  • Georgescu, E
  • Kokubun, S
  • Moebius, E
  • Mukai, T
  • Oieroset, M
  • Paterson, WR
  • Reme, H
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • April 20, 2000
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 10786785
  • Start Page

  • 848
  • End Page

  • 850
  • Volume

  • 404
  • Issue

  • 6780