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Multi‐instrument investigation of the location of Saturn's magnetotail x‐line

Multi‐instrument investigation of the location of Saturn's magnetotail x‐line
Multi‐instrument investigation of the location of Saturn's magnetotail x‐line
Reconnection is a fundamentally important process in planetary magnetospheres, with both local and global effects. At Saturn, observations of the magnetotail reconnection site (or x‐line) are rare, with only one in‐situ encounter reported to date. In this work, an extensive database of plasmoids and dipolarizations [Smith et al., 2016] was investigated from a multi instrument perspective in order to probe the location and variability of the magnetotail x‐line. Several clear intervals were identified in which the x‐line location could be indirectly inferred to move on relatively short timescales. Two case studies are presented, the first of which concerns short lived flows, suggesting the reconnection sites can be either short lived (∼10 minutes) or extremely azimuthally limited (∼3RS/0.4 hours of local time). The second interval concerns the tailward motion of the reconnection site (or sites), inferred from the increasing electron temperature (and diminishing electron density) associated with the flows. This tailward motion occurs over ∼2.5 hours (approximately a quarter of a planetary rotation). The composition of the suprathermal plasma suggests that this could be an example of the gradual depletion of mass loaded flux tubes (that must occur prior to lobe reconnection). These case studies are consistent with previous statistical work that suggested that the site of reconnection in the Kronian magnetotail can be highly dynamic.
2169-9380
Smith, Andrew
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Jackman, Caitriona
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Thomsen, M.F.
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Lamy, Laurent
707475df-f0c0-4f21-ad79-9fdf17422c9c
Sergis, N.
4f763399-5901-4bdc-9bc7-2a57140a9f80
Smith, Andrew
f719dbf6-612c-4ecb-9ec8-ae0ac74928eb
Jackman, Caitriona
9bc3456c-b254-48f1-ade0-912c5b8b4529
Thomsen, M.F.
710c64ce-779f-4088-8e50-f9e450232f5f
Lamy, Laurent
707475df-f0c0-4f21-ad79-9fdf17422c9c
Sergis, N.
4f763399-5901-4bdc-9bc7-2a57140a9f80

Smith, Andrew, Jackman, Caitriona, Thomsen, M.F., Lamy, Laurent and Sergis, N. (2018) Multi‐instrument investigation of the location of Saturn's magnetotail x‐line. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 123. (doi:10.1029/2018JA025532).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Reconnection is a fundamentally important process in planetary magnetospheres, with both local and global effects. At Saturn, observations of the magnetotail reconnection site (or x‐line) are rare, with only one in‐situ encounter reported to date. In this work, an extensive database of plasmoids and dipolarizations [Smith et al., 2016] was investigated from a multi instrument perspective in order to probe the location and variability of the magnetotail x‐line. Several clear intervals were identified in which the x‐line location could be indirectly inferred to move on relatively short timescales. Two case studies are presented, the first of which concerns short lived flows, suggesting the reconnection sites can be either short lived (∼10 minutes) or extremely azimuthally limited (∼3RS/0.4 hours of local time). The second interval concerns the tailward motion of the reconnection site (or sites), inferred from the increasing electron temperature (and diminishing electron density) associated with the flows. This tailward motion occurs over ∼2.5 hours (approximately a quarter of a planetary rotation). The composition of the suprathermal plasma suggests that this could be an example of the gradual depletion of mass loaded flux tubes (that must occur prior to lobe reconnection). These case studies are consistent with previous statistical work that suggested that the site of reconnection in the Kronian magnetotail can be highly dynamic.

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Smith_et_al-2018-Journal_of_Geophysical_Research__Space_Physics - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 25 June 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 25 June 2018

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Local EPrints ID: 421996
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421996
ISSN: 2169-9380
PURE UUID: 2bf94429-6261-4ea4-bd99-5b623b00e336
ORCID for Andrew Smith: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7321-4331

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Date deposited: 12 Jul 2018 16:30
Last modified: 03 Dec 2019 05:20

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Author: Andrew Smith ORCID iD
Author: M.F. Thomsen
Author: Laurent Lamy
Author: N. Sergis

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