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  1. Abstract Coulomb collisions provide plasma resistivity and diffusion but in many low-density astrophysical plasmas such collisions between particles are extremely rare. Scattering of particles by electromagnetic waves can lower the plasma conductivity. Such anomalous resistivity due to wave-particle interactions could be crucial to many processes, including magnetic reconnection. It has been suggested that waves provide both diffusion and resistivity, which can support the reconnection electric field, but this requires direct observation to confirm. Here, we directly quantify anomalous resistivity, viscosity, and cross-field electron diffusion associated with lower hybrid waves using measurements from the four Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft. We show that anomalous resistivity is approximately balanced by anomalous viscosity, and thus the waves do not contribute to the reconnection electric field. However, the waves do produce an anomalous electron drift and diffusion across the current layer associated with magnetic reconnection. This leads to relaxation of density gradients at timescales of order the ion cyclotron period, and hence modifies the reconnection process. 
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  2. Abstract

    We report the observation of solar wind‐magnetosphere‐ionosphere interactions using a series of flux transfer events (FTEs) observed by Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) mission located near the dayside magnetopause on 18 December 2017. The FTEs were observed to propagate duskward and either southward or slightly northward, as predicted under duskward and southward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). The Cooling model also predicted a significant dawnward propagation of northward‐moving FTEs. Near the MMS footprint, a series of poleward‐moving auroral forms (PMAFs) occurred almost simultaneously with those FTEs. They propagated poleward and westward, consistent with the modeled FTE propagation. The intervals between FTEs, relatively consistent with those between PMAFs, strongly suggest a one‐to‐one correspondence between the dayside transients and ionospheric responses. The FTEs embedded in continuous reconnection observed by MMS and corresponding PMAFs individually occurred during persistent auroral activity recorded by an all‐sky imager strongly indicate that those FTEs/PMAFs resulted from the temporal modulation of the reconnection rate during continuous reconnection. With the decay of the PMAFs associated with the FTEs, patch‐like plasma density enhancements were detected to form and propagate poleward and then dawnward. Propagation to the dawn was also suggested by the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) convection and Global Positioning System (GPS) total electron content data. We relate the temporal variation of the driving solar‐wind and magnetospheric mechanism to that of the high‐latitude and polar ionospheric responses and estimate the response time.

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  3. Abstract

    Plasma and wave measurements from the NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale mission are presented for magnetotail reconnection events on 3 July and 11 July 2017. Linear dispersion analyses were performed using distribution functions comprising up to six drifting bi‐Maxwellian distributions. In both events electron crescent‐shaped distributions are shown to be responsible for upper hybrid waves near the X‐line. In an adjacent location within the 3 July event a monodirectional field‐aligned electron beam drove parallel‐propagating beam‐mode waves. In the 11 July event an electron distribution consisting of a drifting core and two crescents was shown to generate upper‐hybrid and beam‐mode waves at three different frequencies, explaining the observed broadband waves. Multiple harmonics of the upper hybrid waves were observed but cannot be explained by the linear dispersion analysis since they result from nonlinear beam interactions.

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  4. Abstract

    On 5 May 2017, MMS observed a crater‐type flux rope on the dawnside tailward magnetopause with fluctuations. The boundary‐normal analysis shows that the fluctuations can be attributed to nonlinear Kelvin‐Helmholtz (KH) waves. Reconnection signatures such as flow reversals and Joule dissipation were identified at the leading and trailing edges of the flux rope. In particular, strong northward electron jets observed at the trailing edge indicated midlatitude reconnection associated with the 3‐D structure of the KH vortex. The scale size of the flux rope, together with reconnection signatures, strongly supports the interpretation that the flux rope was generated locally by KH vortex‐induced reconnection. The center of the flux rope also displayed signatures of guide‐field reconnection (out‐of‐plane electron jets, parallel electron heating, and Joule dissipation). These signatures indicate that an interface between two interlinked flux tubes was undergoing interaction, causing a local magnetic depression, resulting in an M‐shaped crater flux rope, as supported by reconstruction.

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  5. Abstract

    While vorticity defined as the curl of the velocity has been broadly used in fluid and plasma physics, this quantity has been underutilized in space physics due to low time resolution observations. We report Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) observations of enhanced electron vorticity in the vicinity of the electron diffusion region of magnetic reconnection. On 11 July 2017 MMS traversed the magnetotail current sheet, observing tailward‐to‐earthward outflow reversal, current‐carrying electron jets in the direction along the electron meandering motion or out‐of‐plane direction, agyrotropic electron distribution functions, and dissipative signatures. At the edge of the electron jets, the electron vorticity increased with magnitudes greater than the electron gyrofrequency. The out‐of‐plane velocity shear along distance from the current sheet leads to the enhanced vorticity. This, in turn, contributes to the magnetic field perturbations observed by MMS. These observations indicate that electron vorticity can act as a proxy for delineating the electron diffusion region of magnetic reconnection.

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  6. Abstract

    Electron inflow and outflow velocities during magnetic reconnection at and near the dayside magnetopause are measured using satellites from NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission. A case study is examined in detail, and three other events with similar behavior are shown, with one of them being a recently published electron‐only reconnection event in the magnetosheath. The measured inflow speeds of 200–400 km/s imply dimensionless reconnection rates of 0.05–0.25 when normalized to the relevant electron Alfvén speed, which are within the range of expectations. The outflow speeds are about 1.5–3 times the inflow speeds, which is consistent with theoretical predictions of the aspect ratio of the inner electron diffusion region. A reconnection rate of 0.04 ± 25% was obtained for the case study event using the reconnection electric field as compared to the 0.12 ± 20% rate determined from the inflow velocity.

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