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Abstract The origin of switchbacks in the solar wind is discussed in two classes of theory that differ in the location of the source being either near the transition region near the Sun or in the solar wind itself. The two classes of theory differ in their predictions of the switchback rate (the number of switchbacks observed per hour) as a function of distance from the Sun. To distinguish between these theories, one-hour averages of Parker Solar Probe data were averaged over five orbits to find the following: (1) The hourly averaged switchback rate was independent of distance from the Sun. (2) The average switchback rate increased with solar wind speed. (3) The switchback size perpendicular to the flow increased as R , the distance from the Sun, while the radial size increased as R 2 , resulting in an increasing switchback aspect ratio with distance from the Sun. (4) The hourly averaged and maximum switchback rotation angles did not depend on the solar wind speed or distance from the Sun. These results are consistent with switchback formation in the transition region because their increase of tangential size with radius compensates for the radial falloff of their equatorial density tomore »
Nonlinear ion-acoustic waves, ion holes, and electron holes have been observed on the Parker Solar Probe at a heliocentric distance of 35 solar radii. These time domain structures contain millisecond duration electric field spikes of several mV m−1. They are observed inside or at boundaries of switchbacks in the background magnetic field. Their presence in switchbacks indicates that both electron- and ion-streaming electrostatic instabilities occur there to thermalize electron and ion beams.