QE title: A Study of Far Flank Reconnection at Earth’s Magnetopause Using MMS


Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental plasma process that exists in all plasmas. When any two oppositely directed magnetic field lines in plasmas interact, they can become interconnected. This interaction occurs frequently in the Earth’s magnetosphere, where this study focuses. Specifically, this study focuses on magnetic reconnection that occurs on the flanks of the Earth’s magnetosphere for southward IMF at low latitudes. The physics of this specific region of the Earth’s magnetopause remains relatively understudied.

This study of magnetic reconnection at the Earth’s far flank magnetopause will be done in four phases. First is a research project (Objective 1) focusing on identifying events that qualify as far flank with reconnection signatures. Then we move into Objective 2, a research project focusing on beam switch events. Objective 2 was defined from remaining questions left after the completion of Objective 1. The third phase, Objective 3, is not completely determined at this point, but will likely involve simulating one of the events outlined by Objective 2. Each objective will yield a paper submitted to a peer reviewed journal. Finally, a dissertation will be completed to highlight this research and allow for the completion of Kylie Sullivan’s PhD.