May 19, 2019 | Updated: 11:49 AM EDT

Scientists Discovered Source That Speeds Up Magnetic Reconnection

Apr 03, 2017 05:11 AM EDT

NASA's MMS Captures Magnetic Reconnection in Action
(Photo : NASA Goddard/ You Tube) NASA has flown four spacecraft through an invisible maelstrom in space, called magnetic reconnection. Magnetic reconnection is one of the prime drivers of space radiation and so it is a key factor in the quest to learn more about our space environment and protect our spacecraft and astronauts as we explore farther and farther from Earth.

Magnetic reconnection is a physical process in highly conducting plasma. It is a universal process that triggers solar flares and northern light.

Magnetic reconnection is much faster than theory says that it should. This phenomenon is not suitable for cell phone services and fusion experiments.

Recently, the researchers of the U.S department and Germany Planck Institute have discovered a speed up process of magnetic reconnection. This experiment could lead to a more accurate prediction about damaging space weather and improved fusion experiment.

Magnetic reconnection occurs when the timescales intermediate between slow resistive diffusion of the magnetic field and fast Alfvenic timescales. Alfven wave is one type of magnetohydrodynamic wave. Magnetic reconnection also occurs when the magnetic filled lines in plasma, reported by Science Newsline. Space is far from empty. It contains electrons, ions, and most importantly magnetic field.

Now in the region of magnetic reconnection, the variation of electron pressure develops along with the magnetic filled lines. However, the variation balances and keeps a strong electric current inside the plasma. This current is growing out of control and halting the magnetic reconnection. Experts claimed that this variation balances make the possible fast reconnection.

Now according to physicist Will Fox, their main purpose for this experiment is to find the main reason of fast magnetic reconnection. How could it be possible? Experimentally, scientists have already shown that how electron pressure accelerates the process.

The process of magnetic reconnection has been studied in detail at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). This experiment is codenamed by Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX). Now the physics team built a picture of the gradient and other parameters of magnetic reconnection.

This experiment demonstrates how the plasma can sustain a large electric field. It is one mechanism to preventing a large electric current from building up and halting the magnetic reconnection process, reported by Science Daily.

There are so many potential applications of this magnetic reconnection. It can help to locate region where the space storm is ready to take place. This information is pretty much helpful to protect sensitive satellite systems and electric grids.

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