Magnetic Reconnection at Planetary Bodies and Astrospheres

Daniel J. Gershman, Stephen A. Fuselier, Ian J. Cohen, Drew L. Turner, Yi-Hsin Liu, Li-Jen Chen, Tai D. Phan, Gina A. DiBraccio, Adam Masters, Robert W. Ebert, Weijie Sun, Yuki Harada, Marc Swisdak, Julia E. Stawarz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental mechanism for the transport of mass and energy in planetary magnetospheres and astrospheres. While the process of reconnection is itself ubiquitous across a multitude of systems, the techniques used for its analysis can vary across scientific disciplines. Here we frame the latest understanding of reconnection theory by missions such as NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission for use throughout the solar system and beyond. We discuss how reconnection can couple magnetized obstacles to both sub- and super-magnetosonic upstream flows. In addition, we address the need to model sheath plasmas and field-line draping around an obstacle to accurately parameterize the possibility for reconnection to occur. We conclude with a discussion of how reconnection energy conversion rates scale throughout the solar system. The results presented are not only applicable to within our solar system but also to astrospheres and exoplanets, such as the first recently detected exoplanet magnetosphere of HAT-11-1b.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Number of pages42
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2024

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