Magnetic reconnection is a process which regulates solar wind's energy entry into the inner magnetosphere. Also, it modulates the intensity of the so-called geomagnetic storms and substorms. Their effects may cause fluctuations of signals on telecommunication systems; disruptions of the electrical systems at the Earth's surface by the action of geomagnetically induced currents, and also increase the radiation level aboard aircraft flying at high latitudes which may directly impact human health. Due to the potential universality of the magnetic reconnection phenomena, as well as its importance in acting as a physical mechanism capable to set in motion a chain of potentially harmful events to modern society, it is of great merit to seek to understand its underlying physical characteristics. Considering the Earth's magnetosphere context, this project aims to analyze some large scale characteristics of the magnetic reconnection process, namely: where does magnetic reconnection occur along the Earth's dayside magnetopause surface; how does it is spatially structured, and what are the conditions on both local and interplanetary plasmas which dictate its location. Despite of more than 50 years of ongoing research these questions still remain elusive. In order to address these topics, it is made use of in situ satellite observations of magnetic reconnection along with both analytical and numerical models which predict the reconnection location at the magnetopause. By increasing the number of models and the amount of spacecraft data used to validate them, it will be possible to accurately determine the plasma parameters that govern the reconnection location at Earth's dayside magnetopause.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: