Electron-Scale Reconnecting Current Sheet Formed Within the Lower-Hybrid Wave-Active Region of Kelvin-Helmholtz Waves

K. A. Blasl*, T. K.M. Nakamura, R. Nakamura, A. Settino, H. Hasegawa, Z. Vörös, M. Hosner, D. Schmid, M. Volwerk, Owen W. Roberts, E. Panov, Yi Hsin Liu, F. Plaschke, J. E. Stawarz, J. C. Holmes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present Magnetospheric Multiscale observations of an electron-scale reconnecting current sheet in the mixing region along the trailing edge of a Kelvin-Helmholtz vortex during southward interplanetary magnetic field conditions. Within this region, we observe intense electrostatic wave activity, consistent with lower-hybrid waves. These waves lead to the transport of high-density magnetosheath plasma across the boundary layer into the magnetosphere and generate a mixing region with highly compressed magnetic field lines, leading to the formation of a thin current sheet associated with electron-scale reconnection signatures. Consistencies between these reconnection signatures and a realistic, local, fully-kinetic simulation modeling this current sheet indicate a temporal evolution of the observed electron-scale reconnection current sheet. The multi-scale and inter-process character of this event can help us understand plasma mixing connected to the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability and the temporal evolution of electron-scale reconnection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023GL104309
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number19
Early online date9 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

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