Parallel Electric Fields in a Simulation of Magnetotail Reconnection and Plasmoid Evolution

  1. C. T. Russell,
  2. E. R. Priest and
  3. L. C. Lee
  1. M. Hesse and
  2. J. Birn

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM058p0679

Physics of Magnetic Flux Ropes

Physics of Magnetic Flux Ropes

How to Cite

Hesse, M. and Birn, J. (1990) Parallel Electric Fields in a Simulation of Magnetotail Reconnection and Plasmoid Evolution, in Physics of Magnetic Flux Ropes (eds C. T. Russell, E. R. Priest and L. C. Lee), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM058p0679

Author Information

  1. University of California, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1990

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900261

Online ISBN: 9781118663868



  • Solar photosphere;
  • Magnetic flux;
  • Astrophysics


We investigate properties of the electric field component parallel to the magnetic field (E ) in a three-dimensional MHD simulation of plasmoid formation and evolution in the magnetotail in the presence of a net dawn-dusk magnetic field component. We emphasize particularly the spatial localization of E in the concept of a diffusion zone and the role of E in accelerating electrons. We find a localization of the region of enhanced E in all space directions with a strong concentration in the z direction. We identify this region as the diffusion zone, which plays a crucial role in reconnection theory through the local break-down of magnetic flux conservation. The presence of By implies a north-south asymmetry of the injection of accelerated particles into the near-earth region, if the net By field is strong enough to force particles to follow field lines through the diffusion zone. We estimate that for a typical net By field this should affect the injection of electrons into the near-earth dawn region, so that precipitation into the northern (southern) hemisphere should dominate for duskward (dawnward) net By . In addition, we observe a spatial clottiness of the expected injection of adiabatic particles which could be related to the appearance of bright spots in auroras.