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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 29, issue 8
Ann. Geophys., 29, 1411–1422, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-29-1411-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 29, 1411–1422, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-29-1411-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Regular paper 23 Aug 2011

Regular paper | 23 Aug 2011

Virtual satellite observations of plasmoids generated by fast reconnection in the geomagnetic tail

M. Ugai M. Ugai
  • Research Center for Space and Cosmic Evolution, Ehime University, Matsuyama 790-8577, Japan

Abstract. The present paper studies fundamental features of plasmoid propagation by virtual satellite observations in the simulation box. The plasmoid domain is divided into the plasmoid reconnection region P, where magnetized plasmas with reconnected field lines, heated by dissipation mechanisms of fast reconnection, are accumulated, and the plasmoid core region C, where magnetized plasmas with sheared field lines, initially embedded in the current sheet, is adiabatically compressed. When the virtual satellite is located in a position through which the plasmoid core region passes, it detects distinct changes in quantities at the interface between the regions P and C, where the north-south field component Bz has the bipolar profile and the sheared field component By has the peak value. The observed magnetic field profile is, both quantitatively and qualitatively, in good agreement with the standard one detected by actual satellite observations, although when the satellite location is very close to the X neutral line, where reconnection occurs, the Bz field profile becomes dipolarization-like rather than bipolar. If the satellite detects only the plasmoid region P outside region C, the standard magnetic field profile becomes obscure even if notable plasmoid signatures, such as enhanced plasma temperature and plasma flow, are observed. Unlike the traditional flux rope model based on multiple reconnections, it is demonstrated that the standard magnetic field profile, observed for plasmoids propagating in the geomagnetic tail, is the direct outcome of the single fast reconnection evolution.

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