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Journal Articles Physical Review E Year : 2019

In situ spacecraft observations of a structured electron diffusion region during magnetopause reconnection

Alessandro Retinò
Olivier Le Contel
Huishan S Fu
  • Function : Author
Narges Ahmadi
  • Function : Author
Robert E. E Ergun
  • Function : Author
Robert B. B Torbert
  • Function : Author
Barbara L. L Giles
  • Function : Author
Rumi Nakamura
  • Function : Author
Barry H. H Mauk
  • Function : Author
Thomas Moore
  • Function : Author

Abstract

The Electron Diffusion Region (EDR) is the region where magnetic reconnection is initiated and electrons are energized. Because of experimental difficulties, the structure of the EDR is still poorly understood. A key question is whether the EDR has a homogeneous or patchy structure. Here we report Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) novel spacecraft observations providing evidence of inhomogeneous current densities and energy conversion over a few electron inertial lengths within an EDR at the terrestrial magnetopause, suggesting that the EDR can be rather structured. These inhomogenenities are revealed through multi-point measurements because the spacecraft separation is comparable to a few electron inertial lengths, allowing the entire MMS tetrahedron to be within the EDR most of the time. These observations are consistent with recent high-resolution and low-noise kinetic simulations.
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Dates and versions

hal-02108306 , version 1 (24-04-2019)

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Giulia Cozzani, Alessandro Retinò, Francesco Califano, Alexandra Alexandrova, Olivier Le Contel, et al.. In situ spacecraft observations of a structured electron diffusion region during magnetopause reconnection. Physical Review E , 2019, 99 (4), pp.043204 (2019). ⟨10.1103/PhysRevE.99.043204⟩. ⟨hal-02108306⟩
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