Catalog of fine-structured electron velocity distribution functions

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Video in TIB AV-Portal: Catalog of fine-structured electron velocity distribution functions

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Title
Catalog of fine-structured electron velocity distribution functions
Subtitle
I. anti-parallel magnetic-field reconnection (GEM case)
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License
CC Attribution 3.0 Germany:
You are free to use, adapt and copy, distribute and transmit the work or content in adapted or unchanged form for any legal purpose as long as the work is attributed to the author in the manner specified by the author or licensor.
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Publisher
Release Date
2017
Language
Silent film

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Subject Area
Abstract
To understand the essential physics needed to reproduce magnetic reconnection events in 2.5D particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations, we revisit the Geospace Environmental Modeling (GEM) setup. We set up a 2D Harris current sheet (that specifies also the initial conditions) to evolve reconnection of anti-parallel magnetic fields. In contrast to the GEM setup, we use a much smaller initial perturbation to trigger the reconnection and evolve it more self-consistently. From PIC simulation data with high-quality particle statistics we study a symmetric reconnection site, including separatrix layers, as well as the inflow and the outflow regions. The velocity distribution functions (VDFs) of electrons have a fine structure and vary strongly depending on their location within the reconnection setup. The goal is to start cataloging multi-dimensional fine-structured electron velocity distributions showing different reconnection processes in the Earth's magnetotail under various conditions. This will enable a direct comparison with observations from, e.g., the NASA Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) mission, to identify reconnection-related events. We find regions with strong non-gyrotropy also near the separatrix layer and provide a refined criterion to identify an electron diffusion region in the magnetotail. The good statistical significance of this work for relatively small analysis areas reveals the gradual changes within the fine structure of electron VDFs depending on their sampling site.
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