Shimou Wang;Rongsheng Wang;Quanming Lu;Huishan Fu;Shui Wang
Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental plasma process, by which magnetic energy is explosively released in the current sheet to energize charged particles and to create bi-directional Alfvénic plasma jets. Numerical simulations predicted that evolution of the reconnecting current sheet is dominated by formation and interaction of magnetic flux ropes, which finally leads to turbulence. Accordingly, most volume of the reconnecting current sheet is occupied by the ropes, and energy dissipation occurs via multiple relevant mechanisms, e.g., the parallel electric field, the rope coalescence and the rope contraction. As an essential element of the reconnecting current sheet, however, how these ropes evolve has been elusive. Here, we present direct evidence of secondary reconnection in the filamentary currents within the ropes. The observations indicate that secondary reconnection can make a significant contribution to energy conversion in the kinetic scale during turbulent reconnection.