Observational Evidence of Magnetic Reconnection in the Terrestrial Bow Shock Transition Region
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonGeophysical Research Letters. 2019, 46 (2), 562-570. 10.1029/2018GL080944
We report evidence of magnetic reconnection in the transition region of the Earth's bow shock when the angle between the shock normal and the immediate upstream magnetic field is 65°. An ion‐skin‐depth‐scale current sheet exhibits the Hall current and field pattern, electron outflow jet, and enhanced energy conversion rate through the nonideal electric field, all consistent with a reconnection diffusion region close to the X‐line. In the diffusion region, electrons are modulated by electromagnetic waves. An ion exhaust with energized field‐aligned ions and electron parallel heating are observed in the same shock transition region. The energized ions are more separated from the inflowing ions in velocity above the current sheet than below, possibly due to the shear flow between the two inflow regions. The observation suggests that magnetic reconnection may contribute to shock energy dissipation.