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  1. 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
  2. We investigate the validity of Taylor’s hypothesis (TH) in the analysis of velocity and magnetic field fluctuations in Alfvénic solar wind streams measured by Parker Solar Probe (PSP) during the first four encounters. The analysis is based on a recent model of the spacetime correlation of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence, which has been validated in high-resolution numerical simulations of strong reduced MHD turbulence. We use PSP velocity and magnetic field measurements from 24 h intervals selected from each of the first four encounters. The applicability of TH is investigated by measuring the parameter ϵ  =  δu 0 /√2 V ⊥ ,more »which quantifies the ratio between the typical speed of large-scale fluctuations, δu 0 , and the local perpendicular PSP speed in the solar wind frame, V ⊥ . TH is expected to be applicable for ϵ ≲ 0.5 when PSP is moving nearly perpendicular to the local magnetic field in the plasma frame, irrespective of the Alfvén Mach number M A = V SW ∕ V A , where V SW and V A are the local solar wind and Alfvén speed, respectively. For the four selected solar wind intervals, we find that between 10 and 60% of the time, the parameter ϵ is below 0.2 and the sampling angle (between the spacecraft velocity in the plasma frame and the local magnetic field) is greater than 30°. For angles above 30°, the sampling direction is sufficiently oblique to allow one to reconstruct the reduced energy spectrum E ( k ⊥ ) of magnetic fluctuations from its measured frequency spectra. The spectral indices determined from power-law fits of the measured frequency spectrum accurately represent the spectral indices associated with the underlying spatial spectrum of turbulent fluctuations in the plasma frame. Aside from a frequency broadening due to large-scale sweeping that requires careful consideration, the spatial spectrum can be recovered to obtain the distribution of fluctuation’s energy across scales in the plasma frame.« less
  3. A growing body of evidence suggests that the solar wind is powered to a large extent by an Alfvén-wave (AW) energy flux. AWs energize the solar wind via two mechanisms: heating and work. We use high-resolution direct numerical simulations of reflection-driven AW turbulence (RDAWT) in a fast-solar-wind stream emanating from a coronal hole to investigate both mechanisms. In particular, we compute the fraction of the AW power at the coronal base ( $P_\textrm {AWb}$ ) that is transferred to solar-wind particles via heating between the coronal base and heliocentric distance $r$ , which we denote by $\chi _{H}(r)$ , andmore »the fraction that is transferred via work, which we denote by $\chi _{W}(r)$ . We find that $\chi _{W}(r_{A})$ ranges from 0.15 to 0.3, where $r_{A}$ is the Alfvén critical point. This value is small compared with one because the Alfvén speed $v_{A}$ exceeds the outflow velocity $U$ at $r < r_{A}$ , so the AWs race through the plasma without doing much work. At $r>r_{A}$ , where $v_{A} < U$ , the AWs are in an approximate sense ‘stuck to the plasma’, which helps them do pressure work as the plasma expands. However, much of the AW power has dissipated by the time the AWs reach $r=r_{A}$ , so the total rate at which AWs do work on the plasma at $r>r_{A}$ is a modest fraction of $P_\textrm {AWb}$ . We find that heating is more effective than work at $r < r_{A}$ , with $\chi _{H}(r_{A})$ ranging from 0.5 to 0.7. The reason that $\chi _{H} \geq 0.5$ in our simulations is that an appreciable fraction of the local AW power dissipates within each Alfvén-speed scale height in RDAWT, and there are a few Alfvén-speed scale heights between the coronal base and $r_{A}$ . A given amount of heating produces more magnetic moment in regions of weaker magnetic field. Thus, paradoxically, the average proton magnetic moment increases robustly with increasing $r$ at $r>r_{A}$ , even though the total rate at which AW energy is transferred to particles at $r>r_{A}$ is a small fraction of $P_\textrm {AWb}$ .« less