skip to main content

Title: The relation between the energy conversion rate and reconnection rate in Petschek-type reconnection—Implications for solar flares
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
  2. Abstract

    The role a geospace plume in influencing the efficiency of magnetopause reconnection is an open question with two contrasting theories being debated. A local‐control theory suggests that a plume decreases both local and global reconnection rates, whereas a global‐control theory argues that the global reconnection rate is controlled by the solar wind rather than local physics. Observationally, limited numbers of point measurements from spacecraft cannot reveal whether a local change affects the global reconnection. A distributed observatory is hence needed to assess the validity of the two theories. We use THEMIS and Los Alamos National Laboratory spacecraft to identify the occurrence of a geospace plume and its contact with the magnetopause. Global evolution and morphology of the plume is traced using GPS measurements. SuperDARN is then used to monitor the distribution and the strength of dayside reconnection. Two storm‐time geospace plume events are examined and show that as the plume contacts the magnetopause, the efficiency of reconnection decreases at the contact longitude. The amount of local decrease is 81% and 68% for the two events, and both values are consistent with the mass loading effect of the plume if the plume's atomic mass is ∼4 amu. Reconnection in the surrounding is enhanced, and when the solar wind driving is stable, little variation is seen in the cross polar cap potential. This study illuminates a pathway to resolve the role of cold dense plasma on solar wind‐magnetosphere coupling, and the observations suggest that plumes redistribute magnetopause reconnection activity without changing the global strength substantially.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Magnetic reconnection is regarded as the mechanism for the rapid release of magnetic energy stored in active regions during solar flares, and quantitative measurements of the magnetic reconnection rate are essential for understanding solar flares. In the context of the standard two-ribbon flare model, we derive the coronal magnetic reconnection rate of the M6.5 flare on 2015 June 22 in two terms, reconnection flux change rate and reconnection electric field, both of which can be obtained from observations of the flare morphology. Data used include a sequence of chromospheric Hαimages with unprecedented resolution during the flare from the Visual Imaging Spectrometer of the Goode Solar Telescope (GST) at the Big Bear Solar Observatory and a preflare line-of-sight photospheric magnetogram from the GST Near-InfraRed Imaging Spectropolarimeter along with hard X-ray data from the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager. The temporal correlation between the magnetic reconnection rate and nonthermal emission is found, and the variation of the reconnection electric field is mainly determined by the ribbon speed, not by the local magnetic field encountered by the ribbon front. Spatially, the hard X-ray source overlaps with the location of the strongest electric field obtained at the same time. The ribbon motion shows abundant fine structures, including a local acceleration at the location of a light bridge with a weaker magnetic field.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Lobe reconnection is usually thought to play an important role in geospace dynamics only when the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) is mainly northward. This is because the most common and unambiguous signature of lobe reconnection is the strong sunward convection in the polar cap ionosphere observed during these conditions. During more typical conditions, when the IMF is mainly oriented in a dawn‐dusk direction, plasma flows initiated by dayside and lobe reconnection both map to high‐latitude ionospheric locations in close proximity to each other on the dayside. This makes the distinction of the source of the observed dayside polar cap convection ambiguous, as the flow magnitude and direction are similar from the two topologically different source regions. We here overcome this challenge by normalizing the ionospheric convection observed by the Super Dual Aurora Radar Network (SuperDARN) to the polar cap boundary, inferred from simultaneous observations from the Active Magnetosphere and Planetary Electrodynamics Response Experiment (AMPERE). This new method enable us to separate and quantify the relative contribution of both lobe reconnection and dayside/nightside (Dungey cycle) reconnection during periods of dominating IMFBy. Our main findings are twofold. First, the lobe reconnection rate can typically account for 20% of the Dungey cycle flux transport during local summer when IMFByis dominating and IMFBz ≥ 0. Second, the dayside convection relative to the open/closed boundary is vastly different in local summer versus local winter, as defined by the dipole tilt angle.

    more » « less