A Comparison of Dayside Magnetopause Reconnection at the Rotationally Driven Magnetosphere of Saturn and the Solar Wind Driven Magnetosphere of the Earth
This dissertation focuses on the study of various aspects of magnetic reconnection, including factors that may influence this phenomenon such as suppressing onset, as well as the response of the plasma environment as a result of magnetic reconnection. The first part of the dissertation explores magnetic reconnection at the rotationally driven magnetosphere of Saturn. By using signatures of heated electron flows and a maximum magnetic shear model, it was possible to determine if reconnection was occurring and where the reconnection site was at Saturn's magnetopause. Results are presented of several reconnection events at the magnetopause of Saturn. The next part presents the calibration of two ion electrostatic analyzers that were carried on the Twin Rocket to Investigate Cusp Electrodynamics 2 sounding rockets. These ion instruments were utilized to explore magnetic reconnection by measuring ion plasma distributions at the Earth's low altitude northern magnetospheric cusp. Utilizing the calibrated ion instruments, the next part presents two studies of ion dynamics within the cusp. The first study presents evidence that warm plasma cloak material was present at low altitudes on cusp field lines. These results suggest warm plasma cloak material was able to precipitate to low altitudes on an open flux tube. The second study presents evidence of a convecting ionospheric upflowing conic distribution within the cusp at low altitudes. These results allow for the determination of the convection velocity using low energy ion distributions. This dissertation presents an ensemble of various aspects of magnetic reconnection, pushing our knowledge ever forward.