Browsing by Subject "MAGNETIC RECONNECTION"

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  • Yordanova, Emiliya; Voros, Zoltan; Sorriso-Valvo, Luca; Dimmock, Andrew P.; Kilpua, Emilia (2021)
    Numerical simulations and experimental results have shown that the formation of current sheets in space plasmas can be associated with enhanced vorticity. Also, in simulations the generation of such structures is associated with strong plasma heating. Here, we compare four-point measurements in the terrestrial magnetosheath turbulence from the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission of the flow vorticity and the magnetic field curlometer versus their corresponding one-point proxies PVI(V) and PVI(B) based on the Partial Variance of Increments (PVI) method. We show that the one-point proxies are sufficiently precise in identifying not only the generic features of the current sheets and vortices statistically, but also their appearance in groups associated with plasma heating. The method has been further applied to the region of the turbulent sheath of an interplanetary coronal mass ejection (ICME) observed at L1 by the WIND spacecraft. We observe current sheets and vorticity associated heating in larger groups (blobs), which so far have not been considered in the literature on turbulent data analysis. The blobs represent extended spatial regions of activity with enhanced regional correlations between the occurrence of conditioned currents and vorticity, which at the same time are also correlated with enhanced temperatures. This heating mechanism is substantially different from the plasma heating in the vicinity of the ICME shock, where plasma beta is strongly fluctuating and there is no vorticity. The proposed method describes a new pathway for linking the plasma heating and plasma turbulence, and it is relevant to in situ observations when only single spacecraft measurements are available.
  • Akhavan-Tafti, M.; Palmroth, M.; Slavin, J. A.; Battarbee, M.; Ganse, U.; Grandin, M.; Le, G.; Gershman, D. J.; Eastwood, J. P.; Stawarz, J. E. (2020)
    The Vlasiator hybrid-Vlasov code was developed to investigate global magnetospheric dynamics at ion-kinetic scales. Here we focus on the role of magnetic reconnection in the formation and evolution of magnetic islands at the low-latitude magnetopause, under southward interplanetary magnetic field conditions. The simulation results indicate that (1) the magnetic reconnection ion kinetics, including the Earthward pointing Larmor electric field on the magnetospheric side of an X-point and anisotropic ion distributions, are well-captured by Vlasiator, thus enabling the study of reconnection-driven magnetic island evolution processes, (2) magnetic islands evolve due to continuous reconnection at adjacent X-points, "coalescence" which refers to the merging of neighboring islands to create a larger island, "erosion" during which an island loses magnetic flux due to reconnection, and "division" which involves the splitting of an island into smaller islands, and (3) continuous reconnection at adjacent X-points is the dominant source of magnetic flux and plasma to the outer layers of magnetic islands resulting in cross-sectional growth rates up to + 0.3 R-E(2)/min. The simulation results are compared to the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) measurements of a chain of ion-scale flux transfer events (FTEs) sandwiched between two dominant X-lines. The MMS measurements similarly reveal (1) anisotropic ion populations and (2) normalized reconnection rate similar to 0.18, in agreement with theory and the Vlasiator predictions. Based on the simulation results and the MMS measurements, it is estimated that the observed ion-scale FTEs may grow Earth-sized within similar to 10 min, which is comparable to the average transport time for FTEs formed in the subsolar region to the high-latitude magnetopause. Future simulations shall revisit reconnection-driven island evolution processes with improved spatial resolutions.
  • Aikio, A. T.; Pitkanen, T.; Honkonen, I.; Palmroth, M.; Amm, O. (2013)
  • Sanchez-Diaz, E.; Rouillard, A. P.; Lavraud, B.; Kilpua, E.; Davies, J. A. (2019)
    The release of density structures at the tip of the coronal helmet streamers, likely as a consequence of magnetic reconnection, contributes to the mass flux of the slow solar wind (SSW). In situ measurements in the vicinity of the heliospheric plasma sheet of the magnetic field, protons, and suprathermal electrons reveal details of the processes at play during the formation of density structures near the Sun. In a previous article, we exploited remote-sensing observations to derive a 3D picture of the dynamic evolution of a streamer. We found evidence of the recurrent and continual release of dense blobs from the tip of the streamers. In the present paper, we interpret in situ measurements of the SSW during solar maximum. Through both case and statistical analysis, we show that in situ signatures (magnetic field magnitude, smoothness and rotation, proton density, and suprathermal electrons, in the first place) are consistent with the helmet streamers producing, in alternation, high-density regions (mostly disconnected) separated by magnetic flux ropes (mostly connected to the Sun). This sequence of emission of dense blobs and flux ropes also seems repeated at smaller scales inside each of the high-density regions. These properties are further confirmed with in situ measurements much closer to the Sun using Helios observations. We conclude on a model for the formation of dense blobs and flux ropes that explains both the in situ measurements and the remote-sensing observations presented in our previous studies.
  • Runov, Andrei; Grandin, Maxime; Palmroth, Minna; Battarbee, Markus; Ganse, Urs; Hietala, Heli; Hoilijoki, Sanni; Kilpua, Emilia; Pfau-Kempf, Yann; Toledo-Redondo, Sergio; Turc, Lucile; Turner, Drew (2021)
    We present results of noon-midnight meridional plane global hybrid-Vlasov simulations of the magnetotail ion dynamics under a steady southward interplanetary magnetic field using the Vlasiator model. The simulation results show magnetotail reconnection and formation of earthward and tailward fast plasma outflows. The hybrid-Vlasov approach allows us to study ion velocity distribution functions (VDFs) that are self-consistently formed during the magnetotail evolution. We examine the VDFs collected by virtual detectors placed along the equatorial magnetotail within earthward and tailward outflows and around the quasi-steady X line formed in the magnetotail at X approximate to -14 RE. This allows us to follow the evolution of VDFs during earthward and tailward motion of reconnected flux tubes as well as study signatures of unmagnetized ion motion in the weak magnetic field near the X line. The VDFs indicate actions of Fermi-type and betatron acceleration mechanisms, ion acceleration by the reconnection electric field, and Speiser-type motion of ions near the X line. The simulated VDFs are compared and show good agreement with VDFs observed in the magnetotail by the Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) and Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of Moon's Interaction with the Sun (ARTEMIS) spacecraft. We find that the VDFs become more gyrotropic but retain transverse anisotropy and counterstreaming ion beams when being convected earthward. The presented global hybrid-Vlasov simulation results are valuable for understanding physical processes of ion acceleration during magnetotail reconnection, interpretation of in situ observations, and for future mission development by setting requirements on pitch angle and energy resolution of upcoming instruments.
  • Walsh, B. M.; Komar, C. M.; Pfau-Kempf, Y. (2017)
    Multispacecraft measurements from the Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) mission are used to probe the spatial extent of an X line at the dayside magnetopause. A case study from 21 April 2014 is presented where two THEMIS spacecraft have a near-simultaneous encounter with the equatorial dayside magnetopause separated by 3.9 Earth radii. Both spacecraft observe similar steady inflow conditions with southward interplanetary magnetic field and a high magnetic shear angle at the magnetopause (133 degrees) boundary. One spacecraft observes clear fluid and kinetic signatures of active magnetic reconnection, while the other spacecraft does not observe reconnection. The predicted location of reconnection across the magnetopause is found using several theoretical models and a Block Adaptive Tree Solarwind Roe-type Upwind Scheme (BATS-R-US) MHD simulation. Each model predicts a continuous X line passing close to the two spacecraft, suggesting both would observe reconnection, if active. Using the constraints of the multipoint measurements, the extent or length L of the reconnection is estimated to be 2.4L <5.2h in local time or 6L<14 R-E.