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AGU journal highlights -- Sept. 6, 2007

) ice cores

Biancamaria Narcisi: Ente per le Nuove tecnologie, l'Energia e l'Ambiente, Roma, Italy;
Jean Robert Petit: Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Gophysique de l'Environnement/Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Saint Martin d'H res, France;
Ccile Engrand: Centre de Spectrom trie Nuclaire et de Spectrom trie de Masse, Institut National de Physique Nuclaire et de Physique des Particules, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Orsay, France.

Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2007GL030801, 2007,

8. New angle on solar winds magnetic reconnections

Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental plasma process in which pairs of magnetic field lines merge to produce topological changes in the field. It is an important mechanism for converting magnetic energy to bulk flow energy and particle heating and often manifests itself in spectacular ways in space, solar, astrophysical and laboratory plasmas. One of the characteristic signatures of reconnection is the acceleration of plasma away from a reconnection site in a pair of oppositely directed plasma jets. Gosling et al. utilize 3-second observations of such plasma jets by the Wind spacecraft to show that, somewhat surprisingly, reconnection commonly occurs in the solar wind at times when the angle between the reconnecting field lines is considerably less than 90 degrees. The process thus often produces extremely narrow plasma jets that cannot be resolved by most plasma experiments presently operating in the solar wind. The authors find that near solar activity minimum reconnection preferentially occurs in the low-speed wind and at a rate of ~1.5 events per day, a factor approximately 36 times greater than previously found.

Prevalence of magnetic reconnection at small field shear angles in the solar wind


Contact: Peter Weiss
American Geophysical Union

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