Title of the Presentation

The active plasma sheet: the watershed of our magnetosphere

Presentation Type

Talk

Presenter Format

In Person Meeting Talk

Topic

Nightside Science

Start Date

11-5-2022 2:45 PM

Abstract

The cross-tail current sheet periodically 'short circuits', enabling the often explosive redistribution of stored energy. Released energy is transported toward and away from Earth, where the dividing line between the bidirectional flows is analogous to a hydrological watershed. Broadly speaking, three key processes are required to turn the watershed on and off: (1) thinning of the cross-tail current sheet to electron-kinetic scales, (2) 'short-circuiting' of the thinned current sheet by magnetic reconnection, and (3) tailward expulsion or cessation of the reconnection. These three steps involve coupled dynamics at all plasma scales. In this scene-setting talk, we review our current understanding of the active tail and how the watershed is activated and deactivated.

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May 11th, 2:45 PM

The active plasma sheet: the watershed of our magnetosphere

The cross-tail current sheet periodically 'short circuits', enabling the often explosive redistribution of stored energy. Released energy is transported toward and away from Earth, where the dividing line between the bidirectional flows is analogous to a hydrological watershed. Broadly speaking, three key processes are required to turn the watershed on and off: (1) thinning of the cross-tail current sheet to electron-kinetic scales, (2) 'short-circuiting' of the thinned current sheet by magnetic reconnection, and (3) tailward expulsion or cessation of the reconnection. These three steps involve coupled dynamics at all plasma scales. In this scene-setting talk, we review our current understanding of the active tail and how the watershed is activated and deactivated.