We report an earthward moving ion‐scale flux rope embedded within the trailing edge of a hot flow anomaly (HFA) observed by the Magnetospheric Multiscale satellite constellation on 17 December 2016 upstream of Earth's quasi‐parallel bow shock. The driver of the HFA, a tangential discontinuity, was observed by the Wind spacecraft without flux rope signatures around it in the solar wind. This suggests that the earthward moving flux rope was generated inside the HFA. This ion‐scale flux rope is not a force free structure and expands due to a strong magnetic pressure gradient force. Solar wind ions are decelerated inside the flux rope by the static electric field likely caused by the charge separation of solar wind particles. Our observations imply that magnetic reconnection may have occurred inside the HFA. Reconnection and flux ropes may play a role in particle acceleration/heating inside foreshock transients.
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Astronomy & Astrophysics
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
Abstract Connecting the solar wind observed throughout the heliosphere to its origins in the solar corona is one of the central aims of heliophysics. The variability in the magnetic field, bulk plasma, and heavy ion composition properties of the slow wind are thought to result from magnetic reconnection processes in the solar corona. We identify regions of enhanced variability and composition in the solar wind from 2003 April 15 to May 13 (Carrington Rotation 2002), observed by the Wind and Advanced Composition Explorer spacecraft, and demonstrate their relationship to the separatrix–web (hereafter, S-Web) structures describing the corona’s large-scale magnetic topology. There are four pseudostreamer (PS) wind intervals and two helmet streamer (HS) heliospheric current sheet/plasma sheet crossings (and an interplanetary coronal mass ejection), which all exhibit enhanced alpha-to-proton ratios and/or elevated ionic charge states of carbon, oxygen, and iron. We apply the magnetic helicity–partial variance of increments ( H m –PVI) procedure to identify coherent magnetic structures and quantify their properties during each interval. The mean duration of these structures are ∼1 hr in both the HS and PS wind. We find a modest enhancement above the power-law fit to the PVI waiting-time distribution in the HS-associated wind at the 1.5–2 hr timescales that is absent from the PS intervals. We discuss our results in the context of previous observations of the ∼90 minutes periodic density structures in the slow solar wind, further development of the dynamic S-Web model, and future Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter joint observational campaigns.more » « less
Context. Solar Orbiter, the new-generation mission dedicated to solar and heliospheric exploration, was successfully launched on February 10, 2020, 04:03 UTC from Cape Canaveral. During its first perihelion passage in June 2020, two successive interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs), propagating along the heliospheric current sheet (HCS), impacted the spacecraft. Aims. This paper addresses the investigation of the ICMEs encountered by Solar Orbiter on June 7−8, 2020, from both an observational and a modeling perspective. The aim is to provide a full description of those events, their mutual interaction, and their coupling with the ambient solar wind and the HCS. Methods. Data acquired by the MAG magnetometer, the Energetic Particle Detector suite, and the Radio and Plasma Waves instrument are used to provide information on the ICMEs’ magnetic topology configuration, their magnetic connectivity to the Sun, and insights into the heliospheric plasma environment where they travel, respectively. On the modeling side, the Heliospheric Upwind eXtrapolation model, the 3D COronal Rope Ejection technique, and the EUropean Heliospheric FORecasting Information Asset (EUHFORIA) tool are used to complement Solar Orbiter observations of the ambient solar wind and ICMEs, and to simulate the evolution and interaction of the ejecta in the inner heliosphere, respectively. Results. Both data analysis and numerical simulations indicate that the passage of two distinct, dynamically and magnetically interacting (via magnetic reconnection processes) ICMEs at Solar Orbiter is a possible scenario, supported by the numerous similarities between EUHFORIA time series at Solar Orbiter and Solar Orbiter data. Conclusions. The combination of in situ measurements and numerical simulations (together with remote sensing observations of the corona and inner heliosphere) will significantly lead to a deeper understanding of the physical processes occurring during the CME-CME interaction.more » « less
We reconstruct the morphology and kinematics of a series of small transients that erupted from the Sun on 2021 April 24 using observations primarily from Parker Solar Probe (PSP). These sequential small coronal mass ejections (CMEs) may be the product of a continuous reconnection at a current sheet, which is a macroscopic example of the more microscopic reconnection activity that has been proposed to accelerate the solar wind more generally. These particular CMEs are of interest because they are the first CMEs to hit PSP and be simultaneously imaged by it, using the Wide-field Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR) instrument. Based on imaging from WISPR and STEREO-A, we identify and model six discrete transients, and determine that it is the second of them (CME2) that first hits PSP, although PSP later more obliquely also encounters the third transient. Signatures of these encounters are seen in the PSP in situ data. Within these data, we identify six candidate magnetic flux ropes (MFRs), all but one of which are associated with the second transient. The five CME2 MFRs have orientations that are roughly consistent with PSP encountering the right-hand sides of roughly E-W oriented MFRs, which are sloping back toward the Sun.
null (Ed.)During three of its first five orbits around the Sun, Parker Solar Probe (PSP) crossed the large-scale heliospheric current sheet (HCS) multiple times and provided unprecedented detailed plasma and field observations of the near-Sun HCS. We report the common detections by PSP of reconnection exhaust signatures in the HCS at heliocentric distances of 29.5–107 solar radii during encounters 1, 4, and 5. Both sunward and antisunward-directed reconnection exhausts were observed. In the sunward reconnection exhausts, PSP detected counterstreaming strahl electrons, indicating that HCS reconnection resulted in the formation of closed magnetic field lines with both ends connected to the Sun. In the antisunward exhausts, PSP observed dropouts of strahl electrons, consistent with the reconnected HCS field lines being disconnected from the Sun. The common detection of reconnection in the HCS suggests that reconnection is almost always active in the HCS near the Sun. Furthermore, the occurrence of multiple long-duration partial crossings of the HCS suggests that HCS reconnection could produce chains of large bulges with spatial dimensions of up to several solar radii. The finding of the prevalence of reconnection in the HCS is somewhat surprising since PSP has revealed that the HCS is much thicker than the kinetic scales required for reconnection onset. The observations are also in stark contrast with the apparent absence of reconnection in most of the small-scale and much more intense current sheets encountered near perihelia, many of which are associated with “switchbacks”. Thus, the PSP findings suggest that large-scale dynamics, either locally in the solar wind or within the coronal source of the HCS (at the tip of helmet streamers), plays a critical role in triggering reconnection onset.more » « less