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  1. Abstract One of the striking observations from the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) spacecraft is the prevalence in the inner heliosphere of large amplitude, Alfvénic magnetic field reversals termed switchbacks . These δ B R / B ∼  ( 1 ) fluctuations occur over a range of timescales and in patches separated by intervals of quiet, radial magnetic field. We use measurements from PSP to demonstrate that patches of switchbacks are localized within the extensions of plasma structures originating at the base of the corona. These structures are characterized by an increase in alpha particle abundance, Mach number, plasma βmore »and pressure, and by depletions in the magnetic field magnitude and electron temperature. These intervals are in pressure balance, implying stationary spatial structure, and the field depressions are consistent with overexpanded flux tubes. The structures are asymmetric in Carrington longitude with a steeper leading edge and a small (∼1°) edge of hotter plasma and enhanced magnetic field fluctuations. Some structures contain suprathermal ions to ∼85 keV that we argue are the energetic tail of the solar wind alpha population. The structures are separated in longitude by angular scales associated with supergranulation. This suggests that these switchbacks originate near the leading edge of the diverging magnetic field funnels associated with the network magnetic field—the primary wind sources. We propose an origin of the magnetic field switchbacks, hot plasma and suprathermals, alpha particles in interchange reconnection events just above the solar transition region and our measurements represent the extended regions of a turbulent outflow exhaust.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  2. 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 spectralmore »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 the 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
  3. Context. Solar Orbiter, the new-generation mission dedicated to solar and heliospheric exploration, was successfully launched on February 10, 2020, 04:03 UTC from Cape Canaveral. During its first perihelion passage in June 2020, two successive interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs), propagating along the heliospheric current sheet (HCS), impacted the spacecraft. Aims. This paper addresses the investigation of the ICMEs encountered by Solar Orbiter on June 7−8, 2020, from both an observational and a modeling perspective. The aim is to provide a full description of those events, their mutual interaction, and their coupling with the ambient solar wind and the HCS. Methods.more »Data acquired by the MAG magnetometer, the Energetic Particle Detector suite, and the Radio and Plasma Waves instrument are used to provide information on the ICMEs’ magnetic topology configuration, their magnetic connectivity to the Sun, and insights into the heliospheric plasma environment where they travel, respectively. On the modeling side, the Heliospheric Upwind eXtrapolation model, the 3D COronal Rope Ejection technique, and the EUropean Heliospheric FORecasting Information Asset (EUHFORIA) tool are used to complement Solar Orbiter observations of the ambient solar wind and ICMEs, and to simulate the evolution and interaction of the ejecta in the inner heliosphere, respectively. Results. Both data analysis and numerical simulations indicate that the passage of two distinct, dynamically and magnetically interacting (via magnetic reconnection processes) ICMEs at Solar Orbiter is a possible scenario, supported by the numerous similarities between EUHFORIA time series at Solar Orbiter and Solar Orbiter data. Conclusions. The combination of in situ measurements and numerical simulations (together with remote sensing observations of the corona and inner heliosphere) will significantly lead to a deeper understanding of the physical processes occurring during the CME-CME interaction.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022