skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on July 1, 2023

Title: MHD Turbulent Power Anisotropy in the Inner Heliosphere
Abstract We study anisotropic magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence in the slow solar wind measured by Parker Solar Probe (PSP) and Solar Orbiter (SolO) during its first orbit from the perspective of variance anisotropy and correlation anisotropy. We use the Belcher & Davis approach (M1) and a new method (M2) that decomposes a fluctuating vector into parallel and perpendicular fluctuating vectors. M1 and M2 calculate the transverse and parallel turbulence components relative to the mean magnetic field direction. The parallel turbulence component is regarded as compressible turbulence, and the transverse turbulence component as incompressible turbulence, which can be either Alfvénic or 2D. The transverse turbulence energy is calculated from M1 and M2, and the transverse correlation length from M2. We obtain the 2D and slab turbulence energy and the corresponding correlation lengths from those transverse turbulence components that satisfy an angle between the mean solar wind flow speed and mean magnetic field θ UB of either (i) 65° < θ UB < 115° or (ii) 0° < θ UB < 25° (155° < θ UB < 180°), respectively. We find that the 2D turbulence component is not typically observed by PSP near perihelion, but the 2D component dominates turbulence in the inner more » heliosphere. We compare the detailed theoretical results of a nearly incompressible MHD turbulence transport model with the observed results of PSP and SolO measurements, finding good agreement between them. « less
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract We present a theoretical and observational study of 2D and slab turbulence cascade (or heating) rates of transverse total turbulence energies, transverse cross helicity, transverse outward and inward Elsässer energy, transverse fluctuating magnetic energy density, and transverse fluctuating kinetic energy from the perihelion of the first Parker Solar Probe (PSP) orbit at ∼36.6 R ⊙ to Solar Orbiter (SolO) at ∼177 R ⊙ . We use the Adhikari et al. (2021a) approach to calculate the observed transverse turbulence heating rate, and the nearly incompressible magnetohydrodynamic (NI MHD) turbulence transport theory to calculate the theoretical turbulence cascade rate. We find from the 1 day long PSP measurements at 66.5 R ⊙ , and the SolO measurements at 176.3 R ⊙ that various transverse turbulent cascade rates increase with increasing angle, from 10° to 98°, between the mean solar wind speed and mean magnetic field ( θ UB ), indicating that the 2D heating rate is largest in the inner heliosphere. Similarly, we find from the theoretical and observed results that the 2D heating rate is larger than the slab heating rate as a function of heliocentric distance. We present a comparison between the theoretical and observed 2D and slab turbulencemore »cascade rates as a function of heliocentric distance.« less
  2. Aims. Solar Orbiter (SolO) was launched on February 9, 2020, allowing us to study the nature of turbulence in the inner heliopshere. We investigate the evolution of anisotropic turbulence in the fast and slow solar wind in the inner heliosphere using the nearly incompressible magnetohydrodynamic (NI MHD) turbulence model and SolO measurements. Methods. We calculated the two dimensional (2D) and the slab variances of the energy in forward and backward propagating modes, the fluctuating magnetic energy, the fluctuating kinetic energy, the normalized residual energy, and the normalized cross-helicity as a function of the angle between the mean solar wind speed and the mean magnetic field ( θ UB ), and as a function of the heliocentric distance using SolO measurements. We compared the observed results and the theoretical results of the NI MHD turbulence model as a function of the heliocentric distance. Results. The results show that the ratio of 2D energy and slab energy of forward and backward propagating modes, magnetic field fluctuations, and kinetic energy fluctuations increases as the angle between the mean solar wind flow and the mean magnetic field increases from θ UB  = 0° to approximately θ UB  = 90° and then decreases as θ UB  → 180°.more »We find that solar wind turbulence is a superposition of the dominant 2D component and a minority slab component as a function of the heliocentric distance. We find excellent agreement between the theoretical results and observed results as a function of the heliocentric distance.« less
  3. Abstract

    The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) entered a region of sub-Alfvénic solar wind during encounter 8, and we present the first detailed analysis of low-frequency turbulence properties in this novel region. The magnetic field and flow velocity vectors were highly aligned during this interval. By constructing spectrograms of the normalized magnetic helicity, cross-helicity, and residual energy, we find that PSP observed primarily Alfvénic fluctuations, a consequence of the highly field-aligned flow that renders quasi-2D fluctuations unobservable to PSP. We extend Taylor’s hypothesis to sub- and super-Alfvénic flows. Spectra for the fluctuating forward and backward Elsässer variables (z±, respectively) are presented, showing thatz+modes dominatezby an order of magnitude or more, and thez+spectrum is a power law in frequency (parallel wavenumber)f−3/2(k3/2) compared to the convexzspectrum withf−3/2(k3/2) at low frequencies, flattening around a transition frequency (at which the nonlinear and Alfvén timescales are balanced) tof−1.25at higher frequencies. The observed spectra are well fitted using a spectral theory for nearly incompressible magnetohydrodynamics assuming a wavenumber anisotropykk3/4, that thez+fluctuations experience primarily nonlinear interactions, and that the minorityzfluctuations experience both nonlinear and Alfvénic interactions withz+fluctuations. The density spectrum is a powermore »law that resembles neither thez±spectra nor the compressible magnetic field spectrum, suggesting that these are advected entropic rather than magnetosonic modes and not due to the parametric decay instability. Spectra in the neighboring modestly super-Alfvénic intervals are similar.

    « less
  4. Abstract During its 10th orbit around the Sun, the Parker Solar Probe sampled two intervals where the local Alfvén speed exceeded the solar wind speed, lasting more than 10 hours in total. In this paper, we analyze the turbulence and wave properties during these periods. The turbulence is observed to be Alfvénic and unbalanced, dominated by outward-propagating modes. The power spectrum of the outward-propagating Elsässer z + mode steepens at high frequencies while that of the inward-propagating z − mode flattens. The observed Elsässer spectra can be explained by the nearly incompressible (NI) MHD turbulence model with both 2D and Alfvénic components. The modeling results show that the z + spectra are dominated by the NI/slab component, and the 2D component mainly affects the z − spectra at low frequencies. An MHD wave decomposition based on an isothermal closure suggests that outward-propagating Alfvén and fast magnetosonic wave modes are prevalent in the two sub-Alfvénic intervals, while the slow magnetosonic modes dominate the super-Alfvénic interval in between. The slow modes occur where the wavevector is nearly perpendicular to the local mean magnetic field, corresponding to nonpropagating pressure-balanced structures. The alternating forward and backward slow modes may also be features of magneticmore »reconnection in the near-Sun heliospheric current sheet.« less
  5. Context. The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) measures solar wind protons and electrons near the Sun. To study the thermodynamic properties of electrons and protons, we include electron effects, such as distributed turbulent heating between protons and electrons, Coulomb collisions between protons and electrons, and heat conduction of electrons. Aims. We develop a general theoretical model of nearly incompressible magnetohydrodynamic (NI MHD) turbulence coupled with a solar wind model that includes electron pressure and heat flux. Methods. It is important to note that 60% of the turbulence energy is assigned to proton heating and 40% to electron heating. We use an empirical expression for the electron heat flux. We derived a nonlinear dissipation term for the residual energy that includes both the Alfvén effect and the turbulent small-scale dynamo effect. Similarly, we obtained the NI/slab time-scale in an NI MHD phenomenology to use in the derivation of the nonlinear term that incorporates the Alfvén effect. Results. A detailed comparison between the theoretical model solutions and the fast solar wind measured by PSP and Helios 2 shows that they are consistent. The results show that the nearly incompressible NI/slab turbulence component describes observations of the fast solar wind periods when the solarmore »wind flow is aligned or antialigned with the magnetic field.« less