Magnetic reconnection - Yenra
Image credit: NASA Goddard/SWRC/CCMC/SWMF
The explosive realignment of magnetic fields -- known as magnetic reconnection -- is a thought to be a common process at the boundaries of Earth's magnetic bubble. Magnetic reconnection can connect Earth's magnetic field to the interplanetary magnetic field carried by the solar wind or coronal mass ejections. NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, mission studies magnetic reconnection by flying through the boundaries of Earth's magnetic field.
In December 2015, just under four months into the science phase of the mission, NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, is delivering promising early results on a process called magnetic reconnection -- a kind of magnetic explosion that's related to everything from the northern lights to solar flares.
The unprecedented set of MMS measurements will open up our understanding of the space environment surrounding Earth, allowing us to better understand what drives magnetic reconnection events. These giant magnetic bursts can send particles hurtling at near the speed of light and create oscillations in Earth's magnetic fields, affecting technology in space and interfering with radio communications.