A discovery done by the NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft (MMS) has found a new type of magnetic event that is occurring in the near-Earth environment. This new type of magnetic event is occurring in the turbulent space which is surrounding the Earth.
This magnetic reconnection phenomenon is occurring is said to be an important process that is going on in the space. This process involves the charged particles which are known as plasma, and they are present around the Earth. This process usually dissipates the magnetic energy, and it propels the charged particles which help in contributing the dynamic space weather system. The reconnection usually occurs when crossed magnetic field lines get snapped, and it throws away the nearby particles at high speeds. This discovery by scientists found the reconnection in a place where it is not seen before, and the name of the place is turbulent plasma.
These new data which have gathered from the MMS had given hope to all scientists to find out some more events about this. The spacecraft have found this in a region of the event which is known as Magnetosheath. Magnetosheath is present just outside of the outer boundary of the magnetosphere where solar winds are present, and they are extremely turbulent.
According to the Tai Phan, who is a senior fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and also the lead author on this paper said, “In the plasma universe, there are two important phenomena: magnetic reconnection and turbulence. This discovery bridges these two processes.”
MMS used to fly four identical spacecraft which are flying in a pyramid formation to study the magnetic reconnection that is happening around the Earth in 3-D. They fly at only about a four and a half miles away from each other and can see what no other spacecraft had ever seen.
The spacecraft is designed in such a way that it can capture the data at very high speeds. Despite this, it still eases to catch the turbulent reconnection in action, and it requires to observe the narrow layers of fast-moving particles which are hurled by recoiling field lines.
As per Jonathan Eastwood, who is the lecturer at Imperial College said, “The smoking gun evidence is to measure oppositely directed electron jets at the same time, and the four MMS spacecraft were lucky to corner the reconnection site and detect both jets.”