Electron Behavior Around the Onset of Magnetic Reconnection
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionGeophysical Research Letters. 2022, 49 (23), e2022GL102209. 10.1029/2022GL102209
We investigate the onset of magnetic reconnection, utilizing a fully kinetic Particle-In-Cell (PIC) simulation. Characteristic features of the electron phase-space distributions immediately before reconnection onset are identified. These include signatures of pressure non-gyrotropy in the velocity distributions, and lemon shaped distributions in the in-plane velocity directions. Further, we explain how these features form through particle energization by the out-of-plane electric field. Identification of these features in the distributions can aid in analysis of data where clear signatures of ongoing reconnection are not yet present.