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Title: Unsteady Magnetopause Reconnection Under Quasi‐Steady Solar Wind Driving

The intrinsic temporal nature of magnetic reconnection at the magnetopause has been an active area of research. Both temporally steady and intermittent reconnection have been reported. We examine the steadiness of reconnection using space‐ground conjunctions under quasi‐steady solar wind driving. The spacecraft suggests that reconnection is first inactive, and then activates. The radar further suggests that after activation, reconnection proceeds continuously but unsteadily. The reconnection electric field shows variations at frequencies below 10 mHz with peaks at 3 and 5 mHz. The variation amplitudes are ∼10–30 mV/m in the ionosphere, and 0.3–0.8 mV/m at the equatorial magnetopause. Such amplitudes represent 30%–60% of the peak reconnection electric field. The unsteadiness of reconnection can be plausibly explained by the fluctuating magnetic field in the turbulent magnetosheath. A comparison with a previous global hybrid simulation suggests that it is the foreshock waves that drive the magnetosheath fluctuations, and hence modulate the reconnection.

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Award ID(s):
1935110 2055192 2025570
Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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