HAO Colloquium - Rick Wilder, CU LASP

Magnetospheric Multiscale Observations of Parallel Electric Fields Associated With Magnetic Reconnection

On 12 March 2015, NASA launched the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) probes to study the electron scale physics of magnetic reconnection in the Earth’s magnetosphere. The four spacecraft fly in a tetrahedral formation in order to obtain 3-dimensional context, and make measurements of particles and fields at unprecedented temporal resolution. MMS also includes 30m tip-to-tip axial electric field booms, which allows for the measurement of 3-D electric fields, including the component parallel to the background magnetic field (E||), which is necessary to change the topological configuration of a magnetic field. We show three new E|| structures observed by MMS: (1) the reconnection electric field in large guide field reconnection as observed at the edge of Kelvin-Helmholtz vortices, (2) large dissipative E|| (~100 mV/m) that relaxes tangled magnetic fields in turbulent reconnection at the dayside magnetopause, and (3) spatially persistent E|| observed coincident with the electron jet of symmetric magnetosheath reconnection, which may act as an acceleration channel for electrons. The relative role of these structures in understanding magnetic reconnection in general will be discussed.

Date and time: 
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 -
1:30pm to 2:30pm