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Turbulence-driven magnetic reconnection and the magnetic correlation length: observations from magnetospheric multiscale in Earth's magnetosheath

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Title: Turbulence-driven magnetic reconnection and the magnetic correlation length: observations from magnetospheric multiscale in Earth's magnetosheath
Authors: Stawarz, J
Eastwood, J
Phan, T
Gingell, I
Pyakurel, P
Shay, M
Robertson, S
Russell, C
Le Contel, O
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Turbulent plasmas generate a multitude of thin current structures that can be sites for magnetic reconnection. The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission has recently enabled the detailed examination of such turbulent current structures in Earth's magnetosheath and revealed that a novel type of reconnection, known as electron-only reconnection, can occur. In electron-only reconnection, ions do not have enough space to couple to the newly reconnected magnetic fields, suppressing ion jet formation and resulting in thinner sub-proton-scale current structures with faster super-Alfvénic electron jets. In this study, MMS observations are used to examine how the magnetic correlation length (λC) of the turbulence, which characterizes the size of the large-scale magnetic structures and constrains the length of the current sheets formed, influences the nature of turbulence-driven reconnection. We systematically identify 256 reconnection events across 60 intervals of magnetosheath turbulence. Most events do not appear to have ion jets; however, 18 events are identified with ion jets that are at least partially coupled to the reconnected magnetic field. The current sheet thickness and electron jet speed have a weak anti-correlation, with faster electron jets at thinner current sheets. When 𝜆𝐶≲20 ion inertial lengths, as is typical near the sub-solar magnetosheath, a tendency for thinner current sheets and potentially faster electron jets is present. The results are consistent with electron-only reconnection being more prevalent for turbulent plasmas with relatively short λC and may be relevant to the nonlinear dynamics and energy dissipation in turbulent plasmas.
Issue Date: 4-Jan-2022
Date of Acceptance: 7-Dec-2021
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/93356
DOI: 10.1063/5.0071106
ISSN: 1070-664X
Publisher: American Institute of Physics
Start Page: 1
End Page: 20
Journal / Book Title: Physics of Plasmas
Volume: 29
Issue: 1
Copyright Statement: © 2022 Author(s). This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in Phys. Plasmas 29, 012302 (2022); https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0071106
Sponsor/Funder: The Royal Society
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Funder's Grant Number: URF\R1\201286
ST/S000364/1
Keywords: 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences
0202 Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle and Plasma Physics
0203 Classical Physics
Fluids & Plasmas
Publication Status: Published
Online Publication Date: 2022-01-04
Appears in Collections:Space and Atmospheric Physics
Physics