MMS observations of waves and instabilities in the separatrices and diffusion region of magnetopause reconnection
Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
One of the major challenges in understanding magnetic reconnection is determining the role of processes operating at electron spatial scales within the diffusion region and separatrices. Currently, the processes operating at these scales are difficult to identify and characterize, but are crucial for enabling magnetic fields to reconnect. However, the recently launched Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission is specifically designed to investigate these electron scale processes. We use MMS data to investigate the type of electrostatic and electromagnetic instabilities present in the diffusion region and separatrices of asymmetric reconnection at the magnetopause. The waves are characterized using polarization analyses and interferometry techniques. Of particular interest are whistler waves and electrostatic solitary waves, which have a large range of observed properties. We investigate the generation mechanisms of the waves as well as their role in plasma heating and anomalous resistivity, using high time resolution wave and particle measurements.