skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Ergun, R. E."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract We investigate the detailed properties of electron inflow in an electron-only reconnection event observed by the four Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft in the Earth's turbulent magnetosheath downstream of the quasi-parallel bow shock. The lack of ion coupling was attributed to the small-scale sizes of the current sheets, and the observed bidirectional super-Alfvénic electron jets indicate that the MMS spacecraft crossed the reconnecting current sheet on both sides of an active X-line. Remarkably, the MMS spacecraft observed the presence of large asymmetries in the two electron inflows, with the inflows (normal to the current sheet) on the two sides of the reconnecting current layer differing by as much as a factor of four. Furthermore, even though the four MMS spacecraft were separated by less than seven electron skin depths, the degree of inflow asymmetry was significantly different at the different spacecraft. The asymmetry in the inflow speeds was larger with increasing distances downstream from the reconnection site, and the asymmetry was opposite on the two sides of the X-line. We compare the MMS observations with a 2D kinetic particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation and find that the asymmetry in the inflow speeds stems from in-plane currents generated via the combination of reconnection-mediated inflows and parallel flows along the magnetic separatrices in the presence of a large guide field. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 28, 2024
  2. Electrons in earth's magnetotail are energized significantly both in the form of heating and in the form of acceleration to non-thermal energies. While magnetic reconnection is considered to play an important role in this energization, it still remains unclear how electrons are energized and how energy is partitioned between thermal and non-thermal components. Here, we show, based on in situ observations by NASA's magnetospheric multiscale mission combined with multi-component spectral fitting methods, that the average electron energy [Formula: see text] (or equivalently temperature) is substantially higher when the locally averaged electric field magnitude [Formula: see text] is also higher. While this result is consistent with the classification of “plasma-sheet” and “tail-lobe” reconnection during which reconnection is considered to occur on closed and open magnetic field lines, respectively, it further suggests that a stochastic Fermi acceleration in 3D, reconnection-driven turbulence is essential for the production and confinement of energetic electrons in the reconnection region. The puzzle is that the non-thermal power-law component can be quite small even when the electric field is large and the bulk population is significantly heated. The fraction of non-thermal electron energies varies from sample to sample between ∼20% and ∼60%, regardless of the electric field magnitude. Interestingly, these values of non-thermal fractions are similar to those obtained for the above-the-looptop hard x-ray coronal sources for solar flares. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract The Van Allen Probes Electric Fields and Waves (EFW) instrument provided measurements of electric fields and spacecraft floating potentials over a wide dynamic range from DC to 6.5 kHz near the equatorial plane of the inner magnetosphere between 600 km altitude and 5.8 Re geocentric distance from October 2012 to November 2019. The two identical instruments provided data to investigate the quasi-static and low frequency fields that drive large-scale convection, waves induced by interplanetary shock impacts that result in rapid relativistic particle energization, ultra-low frequency (ULF) MHD waves which can drive radial diffusion, and higher frequency wave fields and time domain structures that provide particle pitch angle scattering and energization. In addition, measurements of the spacecraft potential provided a density estimate in cold plasmas ( $<20~\text{eV}$ < 20 eV ) from 10 to $3000~\text{cm}^{-3}$ 3000 cm − 3 . The EFW instrument provided analog electric field signals to EMFISIS for wave analysis, and it received 3d analog signals from the EMFISIS search coil sensors for inclusion in high time resolution waveform data. The electric fields and potentials were measured by current-biased spherical sensors deployed at the end of four 50 m booms in the spacecraft spin plane (spin period $\sim11~\text{sec}$ ∼ 11 sec ) and a pair of stacer booms with a total tip-tip separation of 15 m along the spin axis. Survey waveform measurements at 16 and/or 32 S/sec (with a nominal uncertainty of 0.3 mV/m over the prime mission) were available continuously while burst waveform captures at up to 16,384 S/sec provided high frequency waveforms. This post-mission paper provides the reader with information useful for accessing, understanding and using EFW data. Selected science results are discussed and used to highlight instrument capabilities. Science quantities, data quality and error sources, and analysis routines are documented. 
    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
  5. null (Ed.)
  6. null (Ed.)
  7. Abstract

    We present Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) observations of periodic (25 s) large‐scale (hundreds of km) magnetosonic waves propagating into the Martian dayside upper ionosphere. These waves adiabatically modulate the superthermal electron distribution function, and the induced electron temperature anisotropies drive the generation of observed electromagnetic whistler waves. The localized (in altitude) minimum in the ratiope/ce provides conditions favorable for the local enhancement of efficient wave‐particle interactions, so that the induced whistlers act back on the superthermal electron population to isotropize the plasma through pitch angle scattering. These wave‐particle interactions break the adiabaticity of the large‐scale magnetosonic wave compressions, leading to local heating of the superthermal electrons during compressive wave “troughs.” Further evidence of this heating is observed as the subsequent phase shift between the observed perpendicular‐to‐parallel superthermal electron temperatures and compressive wave fronts. This heating mechanism may be important at other unmagnetized bodies.

    more » « less