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Geophysical Research Letters


The local three-dimensional structure of magnetic reconnection has been measured for the first time in a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) laboratory plasma at the Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment. An array of 600 magnetic probes which resolve ion inertial length and MHD time scale dynamics on a single shot basis measured the magnetic structure of partial spheromak merging events. Counter-helicity spheromaks merge rapidly, and reconnection activity clearly self-generates a local component of B which breaks the standard 2D symmetry at the ion inertial scale. Consistent with prior results, no reconnection is observed for co-helicity merging.


This work is freely available courtesy of the American Geophysical Union and Wiley.

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