Antiparallel magnetic reconnection rates at the Earth's magnetopause
Publication date: 02 Oct 2010
Authors: Fuselier, S.A. et al.
Journal: J. Geophys. Res.
Copyright: American Geophysical UnionCluster observations at the Earth's high-latitude magnetopause are combined with magnetic field models to demonstrate that antiparallel reconnection was occurring at the magnetopause for an event on 3 December 2001. Over a 20 min period, the reconnection line passed over the spacecraft on two occasions. In between the encounters with the reconnection line, velocity cutoffs in the ion distributions are used to determine the distance to the reconnection site. These observations are consistent with an antiparallel reconnection line whose location relative to the spacecraft depends on the orientation of the interplanetary magnetic field. Using this knowledge of the reconnection site location and a previously developed, two-spacecraft method for computing the inflow velocity into the reconnection site, the reconnection rate (Vn/VA) is determined to be <0.08. The rate is consistent with fast reconnection and considerably higher than the reconnection rate for a component reconnection event that was determined using the same two-spacecraft method.