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Electron inflow velocities and reconnection rates at Earth's magnetopause and magnetosheath

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Paschmann,  G.
Space Plasma Physics of Near-Earth Environment, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Burch, J. L., Webster, J. M., Hesse, M., Genestreti, K. J., Denton, R. E., Phan, T. D., et al. (2020). Electron inflow velocities and reconnection rates at Earth's magnetopause and magnetosheath. Geophysical Research Letters, 47(17): e2020GL089082. doi:10.1029/2020GL089082.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-860A-7
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.