Magnetic Reconnection in Solar Flares, the Earth's Magnetosphere, and the Solar Wind

Bob Lin
University of California at Berkeley

Magnetic reconnection was first proposed almost fifty years ago to explain the rapid release of energy in solar flares. I will present both recent imaging observations of magnetic reconnection in solar flares, and in situ plasma, energetic particles, and field measurements in the reconnection regions of the Earth's magnetosphere and of the solar wind. The scales of these phenomena range up to hundreds of thousands of kilometers, while the reconnection microphysics is down to the electron gyroradius (~ten km in space plasmas) scale . Interestingly, the observations show that electron acceleration to hundreds of keV energies often occurs in association with reconnection.

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