In this paper, we analyze one reconnection event observed by the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission at the earth’s magnetopause. In this event, the spacecraft crossed the reconnection current sheet from the magnetospheric side to the magnetosheath side, and whistler waves were observed on both the magnetospheric and magnetosheath sides. On the magnetospheric side, the whistler waves propagated quasi-parallel to the magnetic field and toward the X-line, while on the magnetosheath side they propagated almost anti-parallel to the magnetic field and away from the X-line. Associated with the enhancement of the whistler waves, we find that the fluxes of energetic electrons are concentrated around the pitch angle 90° when their energies are higher than the minimum energy that is necessary for the resonant interactions between the energetic electrons and whistler waves. This observation provides in situ observational evidence of resonant interactions between energetic electrons and whistler waves in the magnetic reconnection.
Using the test particle simulation method, we investigate the stochastic motion of electrons with energy of 300 keV in a monochromatic magnetosonic (MS) wave field. This study is motivated by the violation of the quasi-linear theory assumption, when strong MS waves (amplitude up to ~1 nT) are present in the Earth’s magnetosphere. First, electron motion can become stochastic when the wave amplitude exceeds a certain threshold. If an electron initially resonates with the MS wave via bounce resonance, as the bounce resonance order increases, the amplitude threshold of electron stochastic motion increases until it reaches the peak at about the 11th order in our study, then the amplitude threshold slowly declines. Further, we find that the coexistence of bounce and Landau resonances between electrons and MS waves will significantly reduce the amplitude threshold. In some cases, the electron motion can become stochastic in the field of an MS wave with amplitudes below 1 nT. Regardless, if neither the bounce nor Landau resonance condition is satisfied initially, then the amplitude threshold of stochastic motion shows an increasing trend for lower frequencies and a decreasing trend for higher frequencies, even though the amplitude threshold is always very large (> 5 nT). Our study suggests that electron stochastic motion should also be considered when modeling electron dynamics regulated by intense MS waves in the Earth’s magnetosphere.