Solar Orbiter observations of the structure of reconnection outflow layers in the solar wind

Owen, C. J., Foster, A. C., Bruno, R., Livi, S., Louarn, P., Berthomier, M., Fedorov, A., Anekallu, C., Kataria, D., Kelly, C. W., Lewis, G. R., Watson, G., Bercic, L., Stansby, D., Suen, G., Verscharen, D., Fortunato, V., Nicolaou, G., Wicks, Robert, Rae, Jonathan, Lavraud, B., Horbury, T. S., O'Brien, H., Evans, V. and Angelini, V. (2021) Solar Orbiter observations of the structure of reconnection outflow layers in the solar wind. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 656. L8. ISSN 0004-6361

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We briefly review an existing model of the structure of reconnection layers which predicts that several more distinct layers, in the form of contact discontinuities, rotational Alfvèn waves, or slow shocks, should be identifiable in solar wind reconnection events than are typically reported in studies of reconnection outflows associated with bifurcated current sheets. We re-examine this notion and recast the identification of such layers in terms of the changes associated with the boundaries of both the ion and electron outflows from the reconnection current layers. We then present a case study using Solar Orbiter MAG and SWA data, which provides evidence consistent with this picture of extended multiple layers around the bifurcated current sheet. A full confirmation of this picture requires more detailed examination of the particle distributions in this and other events. However, we believe this concept is a valuable framework for considering the nature of reconnection layers in the solar wind.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: Solar Orbiter is a space mission of international collaboration between ESA and NASA, operated by ESA. Solar Orbiter Solar Wind Analyser (SWA) data are derived from scientific sensors which have been designed and created, and are operated under funding provided in numerous contracts from the UK Space Agency (UKSA), the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES, France), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, France), the Czech contribution to the ESA PRODEX programme and NASA. Solar Orbiter SWA work at UCL/MSSL is currently funded under STFC grants ST/T001356/1 and ST/S000240/1. The Solar Orbiter Magnetometer was funded by the UK Space Agency (grant ST/T001062/1). D. V. is supported by STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship ST/P003826/1. T. H. is supported by STFC grant ST/S000364/1.
Uncontrolled Keywords: sun, solar wind, electrons, protons, magnetic reconnection
Subjects: F300 Physics
F500 Astronomy
F900 Others in Physical Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2021 14:19
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2022 11:00

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