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  1. Abstract Large-scale disturbances generated by the Sun’s dynamics first propagate through the heliosphere, influence the heliosphere’s outer boundaries, and then traverse and modify the very local interstellar medium (VLISM). The existence of shocks in the VLISM was initially suggested by Voyager observations of the 2-3 kHz radio emissions in the heliosphere. A couple of decades later, both Voyagers crossed the definitive edge of our heliosphere and became the first ever spacecraft to sample interstellar space. Since Voyager 1’s entrance into the VLISM, it sampled electron plasma oscillation events that indirectly measure the medium’s density, increasing as it moves further away from the heliopause. Some of the observed electron oscillation events in the VLISM were associated with the local heliospheric shock waves. The observed VLISM shocks were very different than heliospheric shocks. They were very weak and broad, and the usual dissipation via wave-particle interactions could not explain their structure. Estimates of the dissipation associated with the collisionality show that collisions can determine the VLISM shock structure. According to theory and models, the existence of a bow shock or wave in front of our heliosphere is still an open question as there are no direct observations yet. This paper reviews the outstandingmore »observations recently made by the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft, and our current understanding of the properties of shocks/waves in the VLISM. We present some of the most exciting open questions related to the VLISM and shock waves that should be addressed in the future.« less
  2. Abstract

    Drawing connections between heliospheric spacecraft and solar wind sources is a vital step in understanding the evolution of the solar corona into the solar wind and contextualizing in situ timeseries. Furthermore, making advanced predictions of this linkage for ongoing heliospheric missions, such as Parker Solar Probe (Parker), is necessary for achieving useful coordinated remote observations and maximizing scientific return. The general procedure for estimating such connectivity is straightforward (i.e., magnetic field line tracing in a coronal model) but validating the resulting estimates is difficult due to the lack of an independent ground truth and limited model constraints. In its most recent orbits, Parker has reached perihelia of 13.3Rand moreover travels extremely fast prograde relative to the solar surface, covering over 120° longitude in 3 days. Here we present footpoint predictions and subsequent validation efforts for Parker Encounter 10, the first of the 13.3Rorbits, which occurred in November 2021. We show that the longitudinal dependence of in situ plasma data from these novel orbits provides a powerful method of footpoint validation. With reference to other encounters, we also illustrate that the conditions under which source mapping is most accurate for near‐ecliptic spacecraft (such as Parker) occur when solar activity is low,more »but also require that the heliospheric current sheet is strongly warped by mid‐latitude or equatorial coronal holes. Lastly, we comment on the large‐scale coronal structure implied by the Encounter 10 mapping, highlighting an empirical equatorial cut of the Alfvèn surface consisting of localized protrusions above unipolar magnetic separatrices.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 28, 2024