A Collaborative National Center for Fusion & Plasma Research
October 21, 2015, 4:00pm to 5:30pm


COLLOQUIUM: Reconnection at the Dayside Magnetopause from MMS

Dr. James Burch
Southwest Research Institute

The NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission was developed and launched on March 12, 2015 to conduct a definitive experiment on magnetic reconnection in the boundary regions of the Earth’s magnetosphere. The focus is on understanding phenomena in the reconnection diffusion region that cause solar-wind and magnetospheric magnetic fields to merge, thereby releasing magnetic energy and accelerating charged particles. The reconnection of solar and terrestrial magnetic fields leads to the penetration of the solar-wind electric field into the magnetosphere where it becomes the primary driver of magnetic activity. Previous missions, such as ESA Cluster have verified the MHD predictions of the results of reconnection and have verified the occurrence of Hall MHD reconnection at the ion scale. The major outstanding question for MMS is the electron scale dynamics. To address this problem MMS has had to make 3D plasma distribution measurements at speeds of up to 100 times faster than previous missions. Other unique measurements are 3D electric fields, which allow parallel electric fields to be measured in reconnection regions, and a unique capability of measuring the effects of heavy ions on reconnection. In this talk preliminary results from MMS are presented. Many reconnection events have already been observed at the dayside magnetopause, and these will be described. Later in the mission, reconnection in the geomagnetic tail will be probed.

Colloquium Committee: 

The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 2019-2020 Colloquium Committee is comprised of the following people. Please feel free to contact them by e-mail regarding any possible speakers or topics for future colloquia.

Carol Ann Austin, caustin@pppl.gov
Marc-Andre DeLooz, mdelooz@pppl.gov
Erik Gilson, egilson@pppl.gov
Jessica Ilagan, jilagan@pppl.gov
Igor Kaganovich, ikaganov@pppl.gov

  • Carol Ann Austin 609-243-2484

U.S. Department of Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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