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  1. Abstract

    Owing to its low density and high temperature, the solar wind frequently exhibits strong departures from local thermodynamic equilibrium, which include distinct temperatures for its constituent ions. Prior studies have found that the ratio of the temperatures of the two most abundant ions—protons (ionized hydrogen) andα-particles (ionized helium)—is strongly correlated with the Coulomb collisional age. These previous studies, though, have been largely limited to using observations from single missions. In contrast, this present study utilizes contemporaneous, in situ observations from two different spacecraft at two different distances from the Sun: the Parker Solar Probe (PSP;r= 0.1–0.3 au) and Wind (r= 1.0 au). Collisional analysis, which incorporates the equations of collisional relaxation and large-scale expansion, was applied to each PSP datum to predict the state of the plasma farther from the Sun atr= 1.0 au. The distribution of these predictedα–proton relative temperatures agrees well with that of values observed by Wind. These results strongly suggest that, outside of the corona, relative ion temperatures are principally affected by Coulomb collisions and that the preferential heating ofα-particles is largely limited to the corona.

  2. Aims. We aim to constrain the acceleration, injection, and transport processes of flare-accelerated energetic electrons by comparing their characteristics at the Sun with those injected into interplanetary space. Methods. We have identified 17 energetic electron events well-observed with the SEPT instrument aboard STEREO which show a clear association with a hard X-ray (HXR) flare observed with the RHESSI spacecraft. We compare the spectral indices of the RHESSI HXR spectra with those of the interplanetary electrons. Because of the frequent double-power-law shape of the in situ electron spectra, we paid special attention to the choice of the spectral index used for comparison. Results. The time difference between the electron onsets and the associated type III and microwave bursts suggests that the electron events are detected at 1 AU with apparent delays ranging from 9 to 41 min. While the parent solar activity is clearly impulsive, also showing a high correlation with extreme ultraviolet jets, most of the studied events occur in temporal coincidence with coronal mass ejections (CMEs). In spite of the observed onset delays and presence of CMEs in the low corona, we find a significant correlation of about 0.8 between the spectral indices of the HXR flare and themore »in situ electrons. The correlations increase if only events with significant anisotropy are considered. This suggests that transport effects can alter the injected spectra leading to a strongly reduced imprint of the flare acceleration. Conclusions. We conclude that interplanetary transport effects must be taken into account when inferring the initial acceleration of solar energetic electron events. Although our results suggest a clear imprint of flare acceleration for the analyzed event sample, a secondary acceleration might be present which could account for the observed delays. However, the limited and variable pitch-angle coverage of SEPT could also be the reason for the observed delays.« less
  3. CS4All initiatives nationwide have been working to increase and diversify student participation in computer science (CS). One intentional effort to broaden participation in CS was the launch of the Advanced Placement (AP) CS Principles (CSP) course, which sought to increase the number of students enrolling in CS overall as well as from groups historically underrepresented in CS. Early AP CSP implementation results are encouraging and have identified the need to better understand essential supports for quality implementation, differential student experiences and outcomes, and students’ motivations for course enrollment. In this paper, we explore the motivations that affect student decisions to take AP CSP using survey data collected during fall 2019 in the New York City public schools, the largest school district in the U.S. This work is part of an ongoing research-practice partnership that provides teacher and school supports for AP CSP implementation and aims to improve outcomes especially for female, Black, and Latinx students in high-need schools. In particular, we examine how students’ reasons and influences for enrolling in AP CSP may differ based on self-identified gender and race/ethnicity. Our findings indicate that while most students shared an interest in learning more about CS, students from communities historically underrepresentedmore »in computing are more likely to report being placed in the course and to be influenced by guidance counselors. The implications of these results highlight the importance of understanding why students choose AP CSP in developing recruitment resources, student engagement strategies, and supports for implementation.« less
  4. Abstract The SWEAP instrument suite on Parker Solar Probe (PSP) has detected numerous proton beams associated with coherent, circularly polarized, ion-scale waves observed by PSP’s FIELDS instrument suite. Measurements during PSP Encounters 4−8 revealed pronounced complex shapes in the proton velocity distribution functions (VDFs), in which the tip of the beam undergoes strong perpendicular diffusion, resulting in VDF level contours that resemble a “hammerhead.” We refer to these proton beams, with their attendant “hammerhead” features, as the ion strahl. We present an example of these observations occurring simultaneously with a 7 hr ion-scale wave storm and show results from a preliminary attempt at quantifying the occurrence of ion-strahl broadening through three-component ion VDF fitting. We also provide a possible explanation of the ion perpendicular scattering based on quasilinear theory and the resonant scattering of beam ions by parallel-propagating, right circularly polarized, fast magnetosonic/whistler waves.
  5. The fourth orbit of Parker Solar Probe (PSP) reached heliocentric distances down to 27.9 R ⊙ , allowing solar wind turbulence and acceleration mechanisms to be studied in situ closer to the Sun than previously possible. The turbulence properties were found to be significantly different in the inbound and outbound portions of PSP’s fourth solar encounter, which was likely due to the proximity to the heliospheric current sheet (HCS) in the outbound period. Near the HCS, in the streamer belt wind, the turbulence was found to have lower amplitudes, higher magnetic compressibility, a steeper magnetic field spectrum (with a spectral index close to –5/3 rather than –3/2), a lower Alfvénicity, and a ‘1∕ f ’ break at much lower frequencies. These are also features of slow wind at 1 au, suggesting the near-Sun streamer belt wind to be the prototypical slow solar wind. The transition in properties occurs at a predicted angular distance of ≈4° from the HCS, suggesting ≈8° as the full-width of the streamer belt wind at these distances. While the majority of the Alfvénic turbulence energy fluxes measured by PSP are consistent with those required for reflection-driven turbulence models of solar wind acceleration, the fluxes in themore »streamer belt are significantly lower than the model predictions, suggesting that additional mechanisms are necessary to explain the acceleration of the streamer belt solar wind.« less
  6. Abstract The hot and diffuse nature of the Sun’s extended atmosphere allows it to persist in non-equilibrium states for long enough that wave–particle instabilities can arise and modify the evolution of the expanding solar wind. Determining which instabilities arise, and how significant a role they play in governing the dynamics of the solar wind, has been a decades-long process involving in situ observations at a variety of radial distances. With new measurements from the Parker Solar Probe (PSP), we can study what wave modes are driven near the Sun, and calculate what instabilities are predicted for different models of the underlying particle populations. We model two hours-long intervals of PSP/SPAN-i measurements of the proton phase-space density during the PSP’s fourth perihelion with the Sun using two commonly used descriptions for the underlying velocity distribution. The linear stability and growth rates associated with the two models are calculated and compared. We find that both selected intervals are susceptible to resonant instabilities, though the growth rates and kinds of modes driven unstable vary depending on whether the protons are modeled using one or two components. In some cases, the predicted growth rates are large enough to compete with other dynamic processes, suchmore »as the nonlinear turbulent transfer of energy, in contrast with relatively slower instabilities at larger radial distances from the Sun.« less
  7. Context. Aims. We systematically search for magnetic flux rope structures in the solar wind to within the closest distance to the Sun of ~0.13 AU, using data from the third and fourth orbits of the Parker Solar Probe. Methods. We extended our previous magnetic helicity-based technique of identifying magnetic flux rope structures. The method was improved upon to incorporate the azimuthal flow, which becomes larger as the spacecraft approaches the Sun. Results. A total of 21 and 34 magnetic flux ropes are identified during the third (21-day period) and fourth (17-day period) orbits of the Parker Solar Probe, respectively. We provide a statistical analysis of the identified structures, including their relation to the streamer belt and heliospheric current sheet crossing.