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We report observations from the Magnetospheric Multiscale satellites of parallel electric fields (E (sub parallel)) associated with magnetic reconnection in the subsolar region of the Earth's magnetopause. E (sub parallel) events near the electron diffusion region have amplitudes on the order of 100 millivolts per meter, which are significantly larger than those predicted for an antiparallel reconnection electric field. This Letter addresses specific types of E (sub parallel) events, which appear as large-amplitude, near unipolar spikes that are associated with tangled, reconnected magnetic fields. These E (sub parallel) events are primarily in or near a current layer near the separatrix and are interpreted to be double layers that may be responsible for secondary reconnection in tangled magnetic fields or flux ropes. These results are telling of the three-dimensional nature of magnetopause reconnection and indicate that magnetopause reconnection may be often patchy and/or drive turbulence along the separatrix that results in flux ropes and/or tangled magnetic fields.

Source Citation

Ergun, R E., Goodrich, K A., Wilder, F D., Cassak, P. A. (2016). Magnetospheric Multiscale Satellites Observations Of Parallel Electric Fields Associated With Magnetic Reconnection. Physical Review Letters, 116(23).



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