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Microstructure of Magnetic Reconnection in Earth's Magnetotail

Bieber, J. W. and Stone, E. C. and Hones, E. W., Jr. and Baker, D. N. and Bame, S. J. (1984) Microstructure of Magnetic Reconnection in Earth's Magnetotail. Journal of Geophysical Research A, 89 (A8). pp. 6705-6716. ISSN 0148-0227. doi:10.1029/JA089iA08p06705.

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A recent study of magnetic reconnection in the earth’s magnetotail identified five events in which a pulse of heated electrons appeared near the end of an interval of fast tailward plasma flow. Further investigation of these events has revealed the following information on their microstructure: (1) Measurements of the electron velocity distribution show that the temperature rise can be characterized as a true heating process, in that the gross evolution of the distribution is from a narrower to a broader Maxwellian. (2) During the heating pulse a bump is often apparent in the tail of the electron distribution function at an energy of 2–5 keV. This bump could be the remnant of a beam produced by a 2- to 5-kV parallel potential drop. Thus a possible mechanism for the heating of electrons is the beam plasma instability. (3) The magnetic field during these events is highly variable in all three components. Part of this variability may result from magnetic turbulence generated by the tearing mode instability, but minimum variance analysis suggests that some of the more rapid variations (up to 20 nT/s) are caused by rotational or tangential discontinuities. (4) Both the Y and Z components of the magnetic field are quite large (10–20 nT) at times. The strongest southward fields are usually observed near the beginning of the heating pulse, while the strongest Y components generally occur during the pre-heating interval of tailward plasma flow. Transient large-scale changes in the normal magnetotail current system are indicated by these observations.

Item Type:Article
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Stone, E. C.0000-0002-2010-5462
Additional Information:© 1984 American Geophysical Union. Manuscript Accepted: 26 Mar 1984. Manuscript Received: 29 Nov 1982. Work at Caltech was supported in part by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under contracts NAS5-11066 and NAS5-25789 and grant NGR 05-002-160. Work at Los Alamos was done under the auspices of the United States Department of Energy. The Editor thanks the two referees for their assistance in evaluating this paper.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASANGR 05-002-160
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
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Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Space Radiation Laboratory1982-09
Issue or Number:A8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140211-090155953
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Official Citation:Bieber, J. W., E. C. Stone, E. W. Hones Jr., D. N. Baker, S. J. Bame, and R. P. Lepping (1984), Microstructure of magnetic reconnection in Earth’s magnetotail, J. Geophys. Res., 89(A8), 6705–6716, doi:10.1029/JA089iA08p06705.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:43766
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:11 Feb 2014 17:16
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:42

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