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A conjunction of electromagnetic particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations and in situ observations to investigate magnetic reconnection-related signatures at the Earth's dayside magnetopause: the tripolar magnetic field

Grant number: 17/16983-4
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2018
Effective date (End): September 30, 2018
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Physics - Physics of Fluids, Plasma Physics and Electrical Discharge
Principal Investigator:Walter Demetrio Gonzalez Alarcon
Grantee:Vitor Moura Cardoso e Silva Souza
Supervisor abroad: Paul Adam Cassak
Home Institution: Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE). Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações (Brasil). São José dos Campos , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : West Virginia University (WVU), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:14/21229-9 - Numerical and observational analysis on the macroscopic aspect of the magnetic reconnection process at Earth's dayside magnetopause, BP.PD


Earth's dayside magnetopause boundary is the region where magnetic field reconnection takes place, and the locations along the magnetopause where the reconnecting magnetic fields meet and have their topologies changed is referred to as the X-line. Given the current knowledge, there is still no consensus in the scientific community whether reconnection proceeds via a dominant single X-line or to some extent via multiple competing X-lines. Such knowledge is important to better understand the structure and dynamics of the magnetopause that ultimately allows the transfer of mass, energy and momentum from the solar wind to Earth's magnetosphere via magnetic field reconnection. The eight months duration research project proposed here will shed light on this matter. In particular, the characteristics of a reconnection-related signature known as the "tripolar magnetic field", which was found only recently in spacecraft data, will be analyzed. This magnetic field feature has been suggested to be an indication of the presence of multiple X-lines both at the Earth's dayside magnetopause and in the solar wind. The tripolar magnetic field signature seems to be present on spatial scales of the plasma such as the ion inertial length, so an electromagnetic particle-in-cell (PIC) code shall be used in order to properly investigate which magnetic field and plasma parameters are required to reproduce this signature. Also, in situ spacecraft observations of the tripolar magnetic field will be looked for and used to estimate its occurrence rate at the dayside magnetopause. (AU)