Science Seminars

Magnetic Reconnection: Ionospheric Consequences and In-Situ Observations Compared with Simulations

Speaker: Stefan Eriksson
Date: Thursday, Sep 20, 2012
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: SPSC N100 (note alternate room)

Seminar Abstract:

Magnetic reconnection is an important process that changes the topology of magnetic fields, accelerates the plasma in two opposite jets, generates magnetic islands, and drives large-scale convection in the Earth’s magnetosphere. The first half of this seminar presents an overview of some of the consequences that magnetic reconnection at the Earth’s magnetopause has on ionospheric plasma flows and aurora. I also present some recent results on flux rope formation at the Earth’s dayside magnetopause and vortex-generated magnetic islands along the flank magnetopause. The solar wind is an excellent laboratory to examine the physics of reconnection jets as the current sheets where the X-lines form move at a steady solar wind speed as opposed to the magnetosphere where the current sheets often change direction of motion. The second half of the talk includes comparisons of ion and electron velocity jets in the solar wind, and recent evidence of multiple X-line formation in the solar wind. The seminar wraps up with some intriguing new observations of the interaction of the very low-density region of the Lunar wake with a solar wind exhaust.