TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 61 (No. 5), pp. 561-564, 2009


Modeling of substorms and flares by the fast reconnection mechanism

M. Ugai, K. Kondoh, and T. Shimizu

Research Center for Space and Cosmic Evolution, Ehime University, Matsuyama 790-8577, Japan

(Received October 2, 2007; Revised March 29, 2008; Accepted June 4, 2008; Online published May 29, 2009)

Abstract: The 3D spontaneous fast reconnection model is applied to well-known signatures of geomagnetic substorms and solar flares. First, it is applied to the traveling compression regions (TCRs) associated with plasmoids propagating down the tail plasma sheet, known as a definite signature of geomagnetic substorms, and the in-situ satellite observations can be precisely explained, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Then, it is demonstrated that the magnetospheric current wedge drastically evolves through field-aligned currents to link the tail current to the auroral electrojet. It is also found that the well-known morphological features of two-ribbon flares can be explained by the fast reconnection model. In particular, the joule heating, associated with the flare current wedge, is shown to be important for the two-ribbon heating. Therefore, it is suggested that both solar flares and geomagnetic substorms result from the same physical mechanism, i.e., the fast reconnection mechanism.
Key words: Fast reconnection, substorms, flares, TCR, current wedge.

Corresponding author E-mail: ugai@cosmos.ehime-u.ac.jp

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