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Corotating Magnetic Reconnection Site in Saturn's Magnetosphere

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  • Z. H. Yao
  • A. J. Coates
  • L. C. Ray
  • I. J. Rae
  • D. Grodent
  • Geraint H. Jones
  • M. K. Dougherty
  • C. J. Owen
  • R. L. Guo
  • W. R. Dunn
  • A. Radioti
  • Z. Y. Pu
  • G. R. Lewis
  • J. H. Waite
  • J. -C. Gerard
Article number25
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>7/09/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Astrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Number of pages7
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Using measurements from the Cassini spacecraft in Saturn's magnetosphere, we propose a 3D physical picture of a corotating reconnection site, which can only be driven by an internally generated source. Our results demonstrate that the corotating magnetic reconnection can drive an expansion of the current sheet in Saturn's magnetosphere and, consequently, can produce Fermi acceleration of electrons. This reconnection site lasted for longer than one of Saturn's rotation period. The long-lasting and corotating natures of the magnetic reconnection site at Saturn suggest fundamentally different roles of magnetic reconnection in driving magnetospheric dynamics (e.g., the auroral precipitation) from the Earth. Our corotating reconnection picture could also potentially shed light on the fast rotating magnetized plasma environments in the solar system and beyond.