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  1. Abstract We investigate the interaction of turbulence with shock waves by performing 2D hybrid kinetic simulations. We inject force-free magnetic fields upstream that are unstable to the tearing-mode instability. The magnetic fields evolve into turbulence and interact with a shock wave whose sonic Mach number is 2.4. Turbulence properties, the total and normalized residual energy and the normalized cross helicity, change across the shock wave. While the energy of velocity and magnetic fluctuations is mostly distributed equally upstream, the velocity fluctuations are amplified dominantly downstream of the shock wave. The amplitude of turbulence spectra for magnetic, velocity, and density fluctuationsmore »are also increased at the shock wave while their spectral index remains unchanged. We compare our results with the Zank et al. model of turbulence transmission across a shock, and find that it provides a reasonable explanation for the spectral change across the shock wave. We find that particles are efficiently accelerated at the shock front, and a power-law spectrum forms downstream. This can be explained by diffusive shock acceleration, in which particles gain energy by being scattered upstream and downstream of a shock wave. The trajectory of an accelerated particle suggests that upstream turbulence plays a role scattering of particles.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  2. Abstract The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) entered a region of sub-Alfvénic solar wind during encounter 8, and we present the first detailed analysis of low-frequency turbulence properties in this novel region. The magnetic field and flow velocity vectors were highly aligned during this interval. By constructing spectrograms of the normalized magnetic helicity, cross-helicity, and residual energy, we find that PSP observed primarily Alfvénic fluctuations, a consequence of the highly field-aligned flow that renders quasi-2D fluctuations unobservable to PSP. We extend Taylor’s hypothesis to sub- and super-Alfvénic flows. Spectra for the fluctuating forward and backward Elsässer variables ( z ± ,more »respectively) are presented, showing that z + modes dominate z − by an order of magnitude or more, and the z + spectrum is a power law in frequency (parallel wavenumber) f −3/2 ( k ∥ − 3 / 2 ) compared to the convex z − spectrum with f −3/2 ( k ∥ − 3 / 2 ) at low frequencies, flattening around a transition frequency (at which the nonlinear and Alfvén timescales are balanced) to f −1.25 at higher frequencies. The observed spectra are well fitted using a spectral theory for nearly incompressible magnetohydrodynamics assuming a wavenumber anisotropy k ⊥ ∼ k ∥ 3 / 4 , that the z + fluctuations experience primarily nonlinear interactions, and that the minority z − fluctuations experience both nonlinear and Alfvénic interactions with z + fluctuations. The density spectrum is a power law that resembles neither the z ± spectra nor the compressible magnetic field spectrum, suggesting that these are advected entropic rather than magnetosonic modes and not due to the parametric decay instability. Spectra in the neighboring modestly super-Alfvénic intervals are similar.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2022
  4. Abstract Particle acceleration behind a shock wave due to interactions between magnetic islands in the heliosphere has attracted attention in recent years. The downstream acceleration may yield a continuous increase of particle flux downstream of the shock wave. Although it is not obvious how the downstream magnetic islands are produced, it has been suggested that current sheets are involved in the generation of magnetic islands due to their interaction with a shock wave. We perform 2D hybrid kinetic simulations to investigate the interaction between multiple current sheets and a shock wave. In the simulation, current sheets are compressed by themore »shock wave and a tearing instability develops at the compressed current sheets downstream of the shock. As the result of this instability, the electromagnetic fields become turbulent and magnetic islands form well downstream of the shock wave. We find a “post-cursor” region in which the downstream flow speed normal to the shock wave in the downstream rest frame is decelerated to ∼ 1 V A immediately behind the shock wave, where V A is the upstream Alfvén speed. The flow speed then gradually decelerates to 0 accompanied by the development of the tearing instability. We also observe an efficient production of energetic particles above 100 E 0 during the development of the instability some distance downstream of the shock wave, where E 0 = m p V A 2 and m p is the proton mass. This feature corresponds to Voyager observations showing that the anomalous cosmic-ray intensity increase begins some distance downstream of the heliospheric termination shock.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  5. Aims. Solar Orbiter (SolO) was launched on February 9, 2020, allowing us to study the nature of turbulence in the inner heliopshere. We investigate the evolution of anisotropic turbulence in the fast and slow solar wind in the inner heliosphere using the nearly incompressible magnetohydrodynamic (NI MHD) turbulence model and SolO measurements. Methods. We calculated the two dimensional (2D) and the slab variances of the energy in forward and backward propagating modes, the fluctuating magnetic energy, the fluctuating kinetic energy, the normalized residual energy, and the normalized cross-helicity as a function of the angle between the mean solar wind speedmore »and the mean magnetic field ( θ UB ), and as a function of the heliocentric distance using SolO measurements. We compared the observed results and the theoretical results of the NI MHD turbulence model as a function of the heliocentric distance. Results. The results show that the ratio of 2D energy and slab energy of forward and backward propagating modes, magnetic field fluctuations, and kinetic energy fluctuations increases as the angle between the mean solar wind flow and the mean magnetic field increases from θ UB  = 0° to approximately θ UB  = 90° and then decreases as θ UB  → 180°. We find that solar wind turbulence is a superposition of the dominant 2D component and a minority slab component as a function of the heliocentric distance. We find excellent agreement between the theoretical results and observed results as a function of the heliocentric distance.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  6. Aims. An interplanetary coronal mass ejection (ICME) event was observed by the Solar Orbiter at 0.8 AU on 2020 April 19 and by Wind at 1 AU on 2020 April 20. Futhermore, an interplanetary shock wave was driven in front of the ICME. Here, we focus on the transmission of the magnetic fluctuations across the shock and we analyze the characteristic wave modes of solar wind turbulence in the vicinity of the shock observed by both spacecraft. Methods. The observed ICME event is characterized by a magnetic helicity-based technique. The ICME-driven shock normal was determined by magnetic coplanarity method formore »the Solar Orbiter and using a mixed plasma and field approach for Wind. The power spectra of magnetic field fluctuations were generated by applying both a fast Fourier transform and Morlet wavelet analysis. To understand the nature of waves observed near the shock, we used the normalized magnetic helicity as a diagnostic parameter. The wavelet-reconstructed magnetic field fluctuation hodograms were used to further study the polarization properties of waves. Results. We find that the ICME-driven shock observed by Solar Orbiter and Wind is a fast, forward oblique shock with a more perpendicular shock angle at the Wind position. After the shock crossing, the magnetic field fluctuation power increases. Most of the magnetic field fluctuation power resides in the transverse fluctuations. In the vicinity of the shock, both spacecraft observe right-hand polarized waves in the spacecraft frame. The upstream wave signatures fall within a relatively broad and low frequency band, which might be attributed to low frequency MHD waves excited by the streaming particles. For the downstream magnetic wave activity, we find oblique kinetic Alfvén waves with frequencies near the proton cyclotron frequency in the spacecraft frame. The frequency of the downstream waves increases by a factor of ∼7–10 due to the shock compression and the Doppler effect.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  7. Context. Flux ropes in the solar wind are a key element of heliospheric dynamics and particle acceleration. When associated with current sheets, the primary formation mechanism is magnetic reconnection and flux ropes in current sheets are commonly used as tracers of the reconnection process. Aims. Whilst flux ropes associated with reconnecting current sheets in the solar wind have been reported, their occurrence, size distribution, and lifetime are not well understood. Methods. Here we present and analyse new Solar Orbiter magnetic field data reporting novel observations of a flux rope confined to a bifurcated current sheet in the solar wind. Comparativemore »data and large-scale context is provided by Wind. Results. The Solar Orbiter observations reveal that the flux rope, which does not span the current sheet, is of ion scale, and in a reconnection formation scenario, existed for a prolonged period of time as it was carried out in the reconnection exhaust. Wind is also found to have observed clear signatures of reconnection at what may be the same current sheet, thus demonstrating that reconnection signatures can be found separated by as much as ∼2000 Earth radii, or 0.08 au. Conclusions. The Solar Orbiter observations provide new insight into the hierarchy of scales on which flux ropes can form, and show that they exist down to the ion scale in the solar wind. The context provided by Wind extends the spatial scale over which reconnection signatures have been found at solar wind current sheets. The data suggest the local orientations of the current sheet at Solar Orbiter and Wind are rotated relative to each other, unlike reconnection observed at smaller separations; the implications of this are discussed with reference to patchy vs. continuous reconnection scenarios.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  8. Abstract Parker Solar Probe (PSP) observed predominately Alfvénic fluctuations in the solar wind near the Sun where the magnetic field tends to be radially aligned. In this paper, two magnetic-field-aligned solar wind flow intervals during PSP’s first two orbits are analyzed. Observations of these intervals indicate strong signatures of parallel/antiparallel-propagating waves. We utilize multiple analysis techniques to extract the properties of the observed waves in both magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) and kinetic scales. At the MHD scale, outward-propagating Alfvén waves dominate both intervals, and outward-propagating fast magnetosonic waves present the second-largest contribution in the spectral energy density. At kinetic scales, we identifymore »the circularly polarized plasma waves propagating near the proton gyrofrequency in both intervals. However, the sense of magnetic polarization in the spacecraft frame is observed to be opposite in the two intervals, although they both possess a sunward background magnetic field. The ion-scale plasma wave observed in the first interval can be either an inward-propagating ion cyclotron wave (ICW) or an outward-propagating fast-mode/whistler wave in the plasma frame, while in the second interval it can be explained as an outward ICW or inward fast-mode/whistler wave. The identification of the exact kinetic wave mode is more difficult to confirm owing to the limited plasma data resolution. The presence of ion-scale waves near the Sun suggests that ion cyclotron resonance may be one of the ubiquitous kinetic physical processes associated with small-scale magnetic fluctuations and kinetic instabilities in the inner heliosphere.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 30, 2022
  9. Context. The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) measures solar wind protons and electrons near the Sun. To study the thermodynamic properties of electrons and protons, we include electron effects, such as distributed turbulent heating between protons and electrons, Coulomb collisions between protons and electrons, and heat conduction of electrons. Aims. We develop a general theoretical model of nearly incompressible magnetohydrodynamic (NI MHD) turbulence coupled with a solar wind model that includes electron pressure and heat flux. Methods. It is important to note that 60% of the turbulence energy is assigned to proton heating and 40% to electron heating. We use anmore »empirical expression for the electron heat flux. We derived a nonlinear dissipation term for the residual energy that includes both the Alfvén effect and the turbulent small-scale dynamo effect. Similarly, we obtained the NI/slab time-scale in an NI MHD phenomenology to use in the derivation of the nonlinear term that incorporates the Alfvén effect. Results. A detailed comparison between the theoretical model solutions and the fast solar wind measured by PSP and Helios 2 shows that they are consistent. The results show that the nearly incompressible NI/slab turbulence component describes observations of the fast solar wind periods when the solar wind flow is aligned or antialigned with the magnetic field.« less