Effects of the guide field on electron distribution functions in the diffusion region of asymmetric reconnection
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Crescent electron distribution functions in the electron diffusion region in asymmetric reconnection with a guide field (strength less than 50% of the upstream magnetic field) are investigated by theory and fully kinetic simulations. Electron motion in the electron diffusion region is a combination of meandering across the current sheet and gyration around the guide field. Combining the two canonical momentum conservation laws in a one-dimensional model with the energy conservation law, we derive the shape of crescent electron distribution functions in both velocity planes: perpendicular to the magnetic field and coplanner with the magnetic field. There are two major effects of the guide field on crescent distribution functions: (1) widening the opening angle of the crescent in a reduced distribution function and (2) the linear cut-off of a distribution function nonparallel to the magnetic field. We also discuss a translational mapping (perpendicular to the linear cut-off) of distribution functions between the X-line and another position. In addition, considering the gyration due to the normal magnetic field, we predict the shape of distribution functions in general positions in the electron diffusion region. The predictions will be useful to identify features of magnetic reconnection in a guide field by satellite observations.