Energy conversion by parallel electric fields during guide field reconnection in scaled laboratory and space experiments
We present direct and scaled comparisons between laboratory and in situ space observations of magnetic reconnection with a guide field, comparing results from the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS) and the Magnetic Reconnection eXperiment (MRX). While MMS observations obtains high‐resolution and fully‐kinetic data, MRX observations fully cover the 2‐D reconnection plane near the current sheet, removing uncertainties in situating the measurements compared to the reconnection region. Through scaling transformations, we show a quantitative agreement in magnetic field and current density profiles, which agree within a factor of two from each other. The introduction of the guide field causes the energy conversion J·E in the current sheet to be dominated by J||E|| in both cases. However, parallel electric fields reported by recent spacecraft crossings are significantly (5–10x) larger than values obtained on MRX, highlighting an important issue for understanding energy conversion by reconnection.