Reconnection and disconnection: Observations of suprathermal electron heat flux dropouts

Eileen Chollet, Ruth Skoug, John Steinberg, Nancy Crooker, Joe Giacalone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Suprathermal electron heat flux dropouts (HFD) serve as a sensitive test of the magnetic topology of the inner heliosphere. Since the heat flux electron strahl always flows away from the Sun, a heat flux dropout should indicate either that the magnetic field line is completely disconnected from the Sun or that the heat flux strahl is scattered into other pitch angles. We present observations of two suprathermal electron heat flux dropout events observed by the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft which occur simultaneously with impulsive energetic ion events. Since suprathermal electrons encompass the same velocity range as ions with energies of a few MeV/nucleon, the similarities and differences between them as observed at 1 AU probes the sources and transport of these two species. We compare the two events to show the difference between the signatures of a simple disconnection and a more complicated reconnection scenario. Comparing suprathermal electron modulations with energetic ion modulations is a powerful technique for determining the magnetic topology between particle injection at the Sun and observation at 1 AU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTwelfth International Solar Wind Conference
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2010
Event12th International Solar Wind Conference - Saint-Malo, France
Duration: Jun 21 2009Jun 26 2009

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Other12th International Solar Wind Conference


  • Particle emission
  • Solar activity
  • Solar wind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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