Abstract The solar wind (SW) and local interstellar medium (LISM) are turbulent media. Their interaction is governed by complex physical processes and creates heliospheric regions with significantly different properties in terms of particle populations, bulk flow and turbulence. Our knowledge of the solar wind turbulence nature and dynamics mostly relies on near-Earth and near-Sun observations, and has been increasingly improving in recent years due to the availability of a wealth of space missions, including multi-spacecraft missions. In contrast, the properties of turbulence in the outer heliosphere are still not completely understood. In situ observations by Voyager and New Horizons , and remote neutral atom measurements by IBEX strongly suggest that turbulence is one of the critical processes acting at the heliospheric interface. It is intimately connected to charge exchange processes responsible for the production of suprathermal ions and energetic neutral atoms. This paper reviews the observational evidence of turbulence in the distant SW and in the LISM, advances in modeling efforts, and open challenges.
This content will become publicly available on November 18, 2023
Exploring turbulence from the Sun to the local interstellar medium: Current challenges and perspectives for future space missions
Turbulence is ubiquitous in space plasmas. It is one of the most important subjects in heliospheric physics, as it plays a fundamental role in the solar wind—local interstellar medium interaction and in controlling energetic particle transport and acceleration processes. Understanding the properties of turbulence in various regions of the heliosphere with vastly different conditions can lead to answers to many unsolved questions opened up by observations of the magnetic field, plasma, pickup ions, energetic particles, radio and UV emissions, and so on. Several space missions have helped us gain preliminary knowledge on turbulence in the outer heliosphere and the very local interstellar medium. Among the past few missions, the Voyagers have paved the way for such investigations. This paper summarizes the open challenges and voices our support for the development of future missions dedicated to the study of turbulence throughout the heliosphere and beyond.
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- Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences
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