In Petschek's reconnection model MHD waves play the dominant role in energy conversion, and these waves are responsible for propagating the disturbances resulting from reconnection into the system at large. Petschek's model, originally developed to describe a steady-state configuration, may be generalised to describe unsteady phenomena by incorporating a time-varying reconnection rate. With this generalised model it is possible to unify the observations of high-speed flow signatures and flux transfer event (FTE) signatures observed at the dayside magnetopause within a single description; previously, such signatures were commonly attributed to 'steady' and 'unsteady' phenomena, respectively. We show some preliminary results which indicate that FTE signatures result from transient variations in the reconnection rate, and discuss a physical model for these signatures obtained from an extension of Petschek's original analysis to include skewed magnetic field configurations and a finite length of the reconnection line.
Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)