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  1. Abstract

    Pickup ions (PUIs) play a crucial role in the heliosphere, contributing to the mediation of large-scale structures such as the distant solar wind, the heliospheric termination shock, and the heliopause. While magnetic reconnection is thought to be a common process in the heliosphere due to the presence of heliospheric current sheets, it is poorly understood how PUIs might affect the evolution of magnetic reconnection. Although it is reasonable to suppose that PUIs decrease the reconnection rate since the plasma beta becomes much larger than 1 when PUIs are included, we show for the first time that such a supposition is invalid and that PUI-induced turbulence, heat conduction, and viscosity can preferentially boost magnetic reconnection in heliospheric current sheets in the distant solar wind. This suggests that it is critical to include the effect of the turbulence, heat conduction, and viscosity caused by PUIs to understand the dynamics of magnetic reconnection in the outer heliosphere.

  2. Abstract

    The transport of waves and turbulence beyond the photosphere is central to the coronal heating problem. Turbulence in the quiet solar corona has been modeled on the basis of the nearly incompressible magnetohydrodynamic (NI MHD) theory to describe the transport of low-frequency turbulence in open magnetic field regions. It describes the evolution of the coupled majority quasi-2D and minority slab component, driven by the magnetic carpet and advected by a subsonic, sub-Alfvénic flow from the lower corona. In this paper, we couple the NI MHD turbulence transport model with an MHD model of the solar corona to study the heating problem in a coronal loop. In a realistic benchmark coronal loop problem, we find that a loop can be heated to ∼1.5 million K by transport and dissipation of MHD turbulence described by the NI MHD model. We also find that the majority 2D component is as important as the minority slab component in the heating of the coronal loop. We compare our coupled MHD/NI MHD model results with a reduced MHD (RMHD) model. An important distinction between these models is that RMHD solves for small-scale velocity and magnetic field fluctuations and obtains the actual viscous/resistive dissipation associated withmore »their evolution whereas NI MHD evolves scalar moments of the fluctuating velocity and magnetic fields and approximates dissipation using an MHD turbulence phenomenology. Despite the basic differences between the models, their simulation results match remarkably well, yielding almost identical heating rates inside the corona.

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  3. Abstract We present a theoretical and observational study of 2D and slab turbulence cascade (or heating) rates of transverse total turbulence energies, transverse cross helicity, transverse outward and inward Elsässer energy, transverse fluctuating magnetic energy density, and transverse fluctuating kinetic energy from the perihelion of the first Parker Solar Probe (PSP) orbit at ∼36.6 R ⊙ to Solar Orbiter (SolO) at ∼177 R ⊙ . We use the Adhikari et al. (2021a) approach to calculate the observed transverse turbulence heating rate, and the nearly incompressible magnetohydrodynamic (NI MHD) turbulence transport theory to calculate the theoretical turbulence cascade rate. We find from the 1 day long PSP measurements at 66.5 R ⊙ , and the SolO measurements at 176.3 R ⊙ that various transverse turbulent cascade rates increase with increasing angle, from 10° to 98°, between the mean solar wind speed and mean magnetic field ( θ UB ), indicating that the 2D heating rate is largest in the inner heliosphere. Similarly, we find from the theoretical and observed results that the 2D heating rate is larger than the slab heating rate as a function of heliocentric distance. We present a comparison between the theoretical and observed 2D and slab turbulencemore »cascade rates as a function of heliocentric distance.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  4. Abstract We present the first theoretical modeling of joint Parker Solar Probe (PSP)–Metis/Solar Orbiter (SolO) quadrature observations. The combined observations describe the evolution of a slow solar wind plasma parcel from the extended solar corona (3.5–6.3 R ⊙ ) to the very inner heliosphere (23.2 R ⊙ ). The Metis/SolO instrument remotely measures the solar wind speed finding a range from 96 to 201 km s −1 , and PSP measures the solar wind plasma in situ, observing a radial speed of 219.34 km s −1 . We find theoretically and observationally that the solar wind speed accelerates rapidly within 3.3–4 R ⊙ and then increases more gradually with distance. Similarly, we find that the theoretical solar wind density is consistent with the remotely and in-situ observed solar wind density. The normalized cross helicity and normalized residual energy observed by PSP are 0.96 and −0.07, respectively, indicating that the slow solar wind is very Alfvénic. The theoretical NI/slab results are very similar to PSP measurements, which is a consequence of the highly magnetic field-aligned radial flow ensuring that PSP can measure slab fluctuations and not 2D ones. Finally, we calculate the theoretical 2D and slab turbulence pressure, finding that themore »theoretical slab pressure is very similar to that observed by PSP.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 27, 2023
  5. Abstract

    The shape of the heliosphere is currently under active debate. Energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) offer the best method for investigating the global structure of the heliosphere. To date, the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) and the Ion and Neutral Camera (INCA) that was on board Cassini provide the only global ENA observations of the heliosphere. While extensive modeling has been done at IBEX-Hi energies (0.52–6 keV), no global ENA modeling has been conducted for INCA energies (5.2–55 keV). Here, we use an ENA model of the heliosphere based on hybrid results that capture the heating and acceleration of pickup ions (PUIs) at the termination shock to compare modeled global ENA results with IBEX-Hi and INCA observations using both a long- and short-tail model of the heliosphere. We find that the modeled ENA results for the two heliotail configurations produce similar results from the IBEX-Hi through the INCA energies. We conclude from our modeled ENAs, which only include PUI acceleration at the termination shock, that ENA observations in currently available energy ranges are insufficient for probing the shape and length of the heliotail. However, as a prediction for the future IMAP-Ultra mission (3–300 keV) we present modeled ENA maps at 80more »keV, where the cooling length (∼600 au) is greater than the distance where the long- and short-heliotail models differ (∼400 au), and find that IMAP-Ultra should be able to identify the shape of the heliotail, predicting differences in the north lobe to downwind flux ratio between the models at 48%.

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  6. Abstract We study anisotropic magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence in the slow solar wind measured by Parker Solar Probe (PSP) and Solar Orbiter (SolO) during its first orbit from the perspective of variance anisotropy and correlation anisotropy. We use the Belcher & Davis approach (M1) and a new method (M2) that decomposes a fluctuating vector into parallel and perpendicular fluctuating vectors. M1 and M2 calculate the transverse and parallel turbulence components relative to the mean magnetic field direction. The parallel turbulence component is regarded as compressible turbulence, and the transverse turbulence component as incompressible turbulence, which can be either Alfvénic or 2D. The transverse turbulence energy is calculated from M1 and M2, and the transverse correlation length from M2. We obtain the 2D and slab turbulence energy and the corresponding correlation lengths from those transverse turbulence components that satisfy an angle between the mean solar wind flow speed and mean magnetic field θ UB of either (i) 65° < θ UB < 115° or (ii) 0° < θ UB < 25° (155° < θ UB < 180°), respectively. We find that the 2D turbulence component is not typically observed by PSP near perihelion, but the 2D component dominates turbulence in the innermore »heliosphere. We compare the detailed theoretical results of a nearly incompressible MHD turbulence transport model with the observed results of PSP and SolO measurements, finding good agreement between them.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  7. Abstract The structure of shocks and turbulence are strongly modified during the acceleration of cosmic rays (CRs) at a shock wave. The pressure and the collisionless viscous stress decelerate the incoming thermal gas and thus modify the shock structure. A CR streaming instability ahead of the shock generates the turbulence on which CRs scatter. The turbulent magnetic field in turn determines the CR diffusion coefficient and further affects the CR energy spectrum and pressure distribution. The dissipation of turbulence contributes to heating the thermal gas. Within a multicomponent fluid framework, CRs and thermal gas are treated as fluids and are closely coupled to the turbulence. The system equations comprise the gas dynamic equations, the CR pressure evolution equation, and the turbulence transport equations, and we adopt typical parameters for the hot ionized interstellar medium. It is shown that the shock has no discontinuity but possesses a narrow but smooth transition. The self-generated turbulent magnetic field is much stronger than both the large-scale magnetic field and the preexisting turbulent magnetic field. The resulting CR diffusion coefficient is substantially suppressed and is more than three orders smaller near the shock than it is far upstream. The results are qualitatively consistent with certainmore »observations.« less
  8. Abstract During its 10th orbit around the Sun, the Parker Solar Probe sampled two intervals where the local Alfvén speed exceeded the solar wind speed, lasting more than 10 hours in total. In this paper, we analyze the turbulence and wave properties during these periods. The turbulence is observed to be Alfvénic and unbalanced, dominated by outward-propagating modes. The power spectrum of the outward-propagating Elsässer z + mode steepens at high frequencies while that of the inward-propagating z − mode flattens. The observed Elsässer spectra can be explained by the nearly incompressible (NI) MHD turbulence model with both 2D and Alfvénic components. The modeling results show that the z + spectra are dominated by the NI/slab component, and the 2D component mainly affects the z − spectra at low frequencies. An MHD wave decomposition based on an isothermal closure suggests that outward-propagating Alfvén and fast magnetosonic wave modes are prevalent in the two sub-Alfvénic intervals, while the slow magnetosonic modes dominate the super-Alfvénic interval in between. The slow modes occur where the wavevector is nearly perpendicular to the local mean magnetic field, corresponding to nonpropagating pressure-balanced structures. The alternating forward and backward slow modes may also be features of magneticmore »reconnection in the near-Sun heliospheric current sheet.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  9. Abstract Zank et al. developed models describing the transport of low-frequency incompressible and nearly incompressible turbulence in inhomogeneous flows. The formalism was based on expressing the fluctuating variables in terms of the Elsässar variables and then taking “moments” subject to various closure hypotheses. The turbulence transport models are different according to whether the plasma beta regime is large, of order unity, or small. Here, we show explicitly that the three sets of turbulence transport models admit a conservation representation that resembles the well-known WKB transport equation for Alfvén wave energy density after introducing appropriate definitions of the “pressure” associated with the turbulent fluctuations. This includes introducing a distinct turbulent pressure tensor for 3D incompressible turbulence (the large plasma beta limit) and pressure tensors for quasi-2D and slab turbulence (the plasma beta order-unity or small regimes) that generalize the form of the WKB pressure tensor. Various limits of the different turbulent pressure tensors are discussed. However, the analogy between the conservation form of the turbulence transport models and the WKB model is not close for multiple reasons, including that the turbulence models express fully nonlinear physical processes unlike the strictly linear WKB description. The analysis presented here both serves as amore »check on the validity and correctness of the turbulence transport models and also provides greater transparency of the energy dissipation term and the “turbulent pressure” in our models, which is important for many practical applications.« less
  10. 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 fluctuations 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 ofmore »particles.« less