Electrostatic reconnection in the ionosphere

J. D. Huba, T. W. Wu, J. J. Makela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Postsunset equatorial plasma bubble merging is examined using the National Research Laboratory code SAMI3/equatorial spread F. It is found that bubbles merge through an "electrostatic reconnection" process. As multiple bubbles develop, the electrostatic potential associated with one bubble can connect with that of a neighboring bubble: this provides a pathway for the low-density plasma in one bubble to flow into the adjoining bubble and merge with it. Additionally, high-speed plasma channels (approximately greater than hundreds of meters per second) can develop during the merging process. Optical data is presented of equatorial plasma bubble evolution that suggests bubble merging occurs in the nighttime equatorial ionosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1626-1631
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 28 2015


  • electrostatic reconnection
  • equatorial dynamics
  • equatorial ionosphere
  • equatorial plasma bubbles
  • equatorial spread F

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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