Magnetic Reconnection in Comets

  1. Edward W. Hones Jr.
  1. Malcolm B. Niedner Jr.

Published Online: 19 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM030p0079

Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas

Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas

How to Cite

Niedner, M. B. (1984) Magnetic Reconnection in Comets, in Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas (ed E. W. Hones), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM030p0079

Author Information

  1. Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics, Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1984

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900582

Online ISBN: 9781118664223



  • Disconnection events (DE's);
  • High-speed stream/flute instability model;
  • Interplanetary magnetic field (IMF);
  • Magnetic reconnection of comets;
  • Plasma-tail;
  • Reconnection model;
  • Shock interaction model


We are at a point today where many of the traditionally-puzzling phenomena in the cometary plasma-tail environment can plausibly be linked to magnetic reconnection occurring in several regions of a comet [Niedner and Brandt, 1978, 1980]. The turn-on of these various reconnection sites appears to follow a cyclic pattern in which the plasma-tail disconnection event (DE) is the primary feature and the periodic sector structure of the solar wind is the external driver. The purpose of this review is to discuss these different classes of cometary activity, to state the justifications for linking them to reconnection, to discuss proposed alternate (non-reconnection) models, and to suggest future tests of the hypotheses presented.