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Continuous Magnetic Reconnection Spotted in Magnetopause

Magnetic reconnection

Simultaneous observations by the IMAGE and Cluster II spacecraft provide evidence for continuous reconnection at the magnetopause. This observation solves a decades-long controversy about the steady or bursty nature of reconnection. Rather than having an intrinsic burst-like nature, magnetopause reconnection is shown to be driven by the solar wind with any temporal variations being traceable to changes in solar-wind properties.

(2003: Frey et al.)

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Additional Information

Magnetic Reconnection -The process which causes magnetic fields of opposite polarity to merge together, releasing magnetic energy. Commonly observed in solar flares, and in the magnetotail of Earth.

Magnetopause - The boundary between Earth's magnetic field and the solar wind, where the pressure of each system is in approximate balance. It is the location where Earth's magnetic field and the solar wind magnetic field are in direct contact, and where energy between these two systems can be exchanged through magnetic fields and/or charged particles.

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Dr. S. Odenwald,, +1-301-286-6953
NSSDC, Mail Code 630, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771
NASA Approval: J. L. Green,
Rev. 1.0.0, 24 July 2004, EVB II