Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

Magnetotail reconnection onset caused by electron kinetics with a strong external driver.

  • Author(s): Lu, San;
  • Wang, Rongsheng;
  • Lu, Quanming;
  • Angelopoulos, V;
  • Nakamura, R;
  • Artemyev, AV;
  • Pritchett, PL;
  • Liu, TZ;
  • Zhang, X-J;
  • Baumjohann, W;
  • Gonzalez, W;
  • Rager, AC;
  • Torbert, RB;
  • Giles, BL;
  • Gershman, DJ;
  • Russell, CT;
  • Strangeway, RJ;
  • Qi, Y;
  • Ergun, RE;
  • Lindqvist, P-A;
  • Burch, JL;
  • Wang, Shui
  • et al.

Magnetotail reconnection plays a crucial role in explosive energy conversion in geospace. Because of the lack of in-situ spacecraft observations, the onset mechanism of magnetotail reconnection, however, has been controversial for decades. The key question is whether magnetotail reconnection is externally driven to occur first on electron scales or spontaneously arising from an unstable configuration on ion scales. Here, we show, using spacecraft observations and particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations, that magnetotail reconnection starts from electron reconnection in the presence of a strong external driver. Our PIC simulations show that this electron reconnection then develops into ion reconnection. These results provide direct evidence for magnetotail reconnection onset caused by electron kinetics with a strong external driver.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View