Streaming Energetic Electrons in Reconnection Events

  1. Edward W. Hones Jr.
  1. John W. Bieber

Published Online: 19 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM030p0185

Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas

Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas

How to Cite

Bieber, J. W. (1984) Streaming Energetic Electrons in Reconnection Events, in Magnetic Reconnection in Space and Laboratory Plasmas (ed E. W. Hones), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM030p0185

Author Information

  1. Bartol Research Foundation of the Franklin Institute, University Of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900582

Online ISBN: 9781118664223

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Keywords:

  • Energetic electrons;
  • Plasma sheet;
  • Plasmoid;
  • Spacecraft;
  • Streaming energetic electrons

Summary

Energetic electrons can be used to probe the large-scale topology of magnetic fields in Earth's magnetotail. In the plasma sheet region near the tail's midplane, these particles normally exhibit the trapped or isotropic angular distributions characteristic of closed magnetic field lines, but brief intervals of intense tailward streaming, indicative of open field lines, are occasionally observed. Such streaming events occur preferentially near the time of substorm onset as the observing spacecraft exits the thinning plasma sheet, and they are usually preceded by a 5-10 minute interval of fast tailward plasma flow and southward magnetic field. These correlated phenomena have been interpreted as evidence for magnetic reconnection at a transient magnetic X-line located ∼15 RE tailward of Earth. Recent studies of energetic electron streaming events report novel reconnection-related phenomena, including heating of plasma electrons, bump-in-tail electron velocity distributions, and possible rotational and tangential magnetic discontinuities.