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Reconnection site determination tool

CCMC Services available for RECONX
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Model Developer(s)
Alex Glocer, John Dorelli, Code 673, Colin Komar, Catholic University of America, Code 673
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Model Description

RECONX: Separatrix Surfaces, Separator Line and Null Point Finder

This post-processing tool determines

a) the inner separatrix surface in the dayside of the magnetosphere between the region of closed magnetic field lines (connecting the northern to the southern hemisphere of the Earth) and open field lines (connected to either the northern or southern hemisphere of the Earth) and
b) the outer separatrix surface between open field lines and solar wind field lines.
c) the separator, the line where these two surfaces touch (the location where magnetic reconnection can occur most likely),
d) magnetic nulls, which are identified either as plus (PlusNull) or negative (NegNull), depending on the sign of the eigenvalues of the gradient tensor.

Visualization is done in HTML5 using the Plotly library in Python ( and miniconda environment "separatrix_visualization" developed by Asher Pembroke, see attached image).

Model Input
3 dimensional magnetic field distribution from global magnetosphere (GM) model.

Model Output
see a) through d) in the model description above

Limitations and Caveats

Separator line is determined in day side for |Y|≤20 RE.
Separatrix surfaces determined on longitude-latitude grid between -68 and 68 degrees latitude and -90 to 90 degrees longitude (lat=0, lon=0: Sun direction).
For models other than SWMF, a equidistant-grid interpolation at 1/4 RE resolution is used which is limited to |X|≤25.5, |Y|≤ 25.5 and Z≤25.5 RE ( implemented by Lutz Rastaetter).
Any closed magnetic field lines extending beyond this area may be classified incorrectly and may alter the results.

References and relevant publications

A. Glocer, J. Dorelli, G. Toth, et al., "Separator reconnection at the magnetopause for predominantly northward and southward IMF: Techniques and results", JGR SPACE PHYSICS, 121 (1), 140-156 (2016)

C. M. Komar, P. A. Cassak, J.C. Dorelli, et al., "Tracing magnetic separators and their dependence on IMF clock angle in global magnetospheric simulations" JGR SPACE PHYSICS, 118 (8), 4998-5007 (2013).

CCMC Contact(s)


Developer Contact(s)


National Aeronautics and Space Administration Air Force Materiel Command Air Force Office of Scientific Research Air Force Research Laboratory Air Force Weather Agency NOAA Space Environment Center National Science Foundation Office of Naval Research

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