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Tuesday, May 2 2017

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Impulsive phenomena, such as magnetospheric substorms, and solar and stellar flares, are known to be driven by fast magnetic reconnection events, which rapidly transform magnetic energy to plasma particle energy. Fast magnetic reconnection would normally be impossible for reconnecting current sheets that are highly elongated, since they severely constrain the velocity of the plasma entering the reconnection layer. However, such current sheets are subject to a violent instability, known as the plasmoid instability.