MMS observations of small magnetic flux ropes in the near‐tail (X > ‐11 Re)

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
James A Slavin1, Gangkai Poh1, Guan Le2, Robert J Strangeway3, Christopher T Russell4, Brian J Anderson5, David Fischer6, Ferdinand Plaschke6, Kenneth R Bromund2, Hannes Karl Leinweber7, Larry Kepko2, Mark Chutter8, Olivier Le Contel9, Roy B Torbert10, Rumi Nakamura11, Werner Magnes12 and Wolfgang Baumjohann13, (1)University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI, United States, (2)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (3)University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (4)University of California Los Angeles, IGPP/EPSS, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (5)Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States, (6)IWF Institute for Space Research, Graz, Austria, (7)Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (8)University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, United States, (9)Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas (UMR7648), CNRS/Ecole Polytechnique/UPMC/Univ. Paris Sud/Obs. de Paris, Paris, France, (10)University of New Hampshire Main Campus, Durham, NH, United States, (11)Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria, (12)Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz, Austria, (13)Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz, Austria
Magnetic reconnection is the most important energy conversion process in the Earth’s magnetotail. Flux ropes are helical magnetic structures created by multiple X-line reconnection in the tail current sheet in the presence of a guide field in the east – west direction. Many numerical simulations predict that the formation of small flux ropes, referred to as secondary islands, takes place as reconnection transitions from the slow Sweet-Parker mode to fast reconnection with inertial scale neutral points. High time resolution MMS magnetic and electric fields measurements are near ideal for the investigation of secondary island - type flux ropes carried Earthward from downstream reconnnection sites, as well as their interaction with the strong dipolar magnetic fields of the inner magnetosphere. We present and analyze initial MMS magnetic field measurements of small flux ropes in the near-tail during the commissioning phase while the spacecraft were in a “string-­of-­pearls” configuration.