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Published December 20, 2019 | Published
Journal Article Open

Kinetic Verification of the Stochastic Ion Heating Mechanism in Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection


The origin of anomalous, non-classical ion heating during magnetic reconnection has been a longstanding problem. It is verified via fully kinetic analyses and particle-in-cell simulations that stochastic heating is the main ion heating mechanism in collisionless magnetic reconnection up to moderate guide fields. Strong in-plane Hall electric fields that form during reconnection render ion motions chaotic and de facto broaden the ion distribution function. The mechanism is consistent with numerous observed features of ion heating in reconnection, such as the preferential heating of ions with higher mass-to-charge ratios and the non-conservation of the ion magnetic moment.

Additional Information

© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2019 November 6; accepted 2019 November 25; published 2019 December 17. This material is based upon work supported by the NSF Solar Terrestrial Research Program via award grant 1914599 and by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Space Science Program via award grant FA9550-17-1-0023. The computations presented here were conducted on the Caltech High Performance Cluster partially supported by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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