eHeroes Second Annual Meeting location:Davos date:10-12 March 2014
Magnetic reconnection is undoubtely one of the hottest topics in plasma physics of last decades. Its main feature in converting magnetic to kinetic and fluid energy opened up new questions on particles acceleration in different fields, strongly including astrophysics and space weather. Several studies and simulations have then been performed up to now in order to figure out whether this phenomenon might effectively hide behind those physical effects not fully explained yet, such as, for instance, solar flairs.
Particularly, one of the most used approach takes into account symmetric conditions in collisionless plasmas. However, new interesting features have recently come out involving asymmetric profiles in magnetic field and density along the current sheet.
This work is therefore mainly aimed to investigate the application of these conditions at the dayside of the magnetosphere, where shocked solar wind encounters magnetospheric plasma. The former, normally called magnetosheath plasma, turns out to be particularly dense and weak in magnetic field after interacting at the bow shock, whilst the latter, normally defined as magnetospheric plasma, appears strong in magnetic field and low in density.
Specifically, investigating larger spatial scales might lead to interesting physical results in this peculiar region, in light of the impending long-awaited NASA's satellite mission MMS (Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission) devoted to directly improve our knowledge of reconnections occurring not so far from our planet.
Finally, asymmetric reconnection seems to appear in some specific scenarios involving space weather, including faraway reconnections in the magnetotail and reconnection-driven phenomena into solar corona, as well as in plasma tokamaks.