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  1. Abstract The SWEAP instrument suite on Parker Solar Probe (PSP) has detected numerous proton beams associated with coherent, circularly polarized, ion-scale waves observed by PSP’s FIELDS instrument suite. Measurements during PSP Encounters 4−8 revealed pronounced complex shapes in the proton velocity distribution functions (VDFs), in which the tip of the beam undergoes strong perpendicular diffusion, resulting in VDF level contours that resemble a “hammerhead.” We refer to these proton beams, with their attendant “hammerhead” features, as the ion strahl. We present an example of these observations occurring simultaneously with a 7 hr ion-scale wave storm and show results from amore »preliminary attempt at quantifying the occurrence of ion-strahl broadening through three-component ion VDF fitting. We also provide a possible explanation of the ion perpendicular scattering based on quasilinear theory and the resonant scattering of beam ions by parallel-propagating, right circularly polarized, fast magnetosonic/whistler waves.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  3. Recently, the energization of superthermal electrons at the Earth's bow shock was found to be consistent with a new magnetic pumping model derived in the limit where the electron transit time is much shorter than any time scale governing the evolution of the magnetic fields. The new model breaks with the common approach of integrating the kinetic equations along unperturbed orbits. Rather, the fast transit-time limit allows the electron dynamics to be characterized by adiabatic invariants (action variables) accurately capturing the nonlinear effects of electrons becoming trapped in magnetic perturbations. Without trapping, fast parallel streaming along magnetic field lines causesmore »the electron pressure to be isotropized and homogeneous along the magnetic field lines. In contrast, trapping permits spatially varying pressure anisotropy to form along the magnetic field lines, and through a Fermi process this pressure anisotropy in turn becomes the main ingredient that renders magnetic pumping efficient for energizing superthermal electrons. We here present a detailed mathematical derivation of the model.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  4. Abstract The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) routinely observes magnetic field deflections in the solar wind at distances less than 0.3 au from the Sun. These deflections are related to structures commonly called “switchbacks” (SBs), whose origins and characteristic properties are currently debated. Here, we use a database of visually selected SB intervals—and regions of solar wind plasma measured just before and after each SB—to examine plasma parameters, turbulent spectra from inertial to dissipation scales, and intermittency effects in these intervals. We find that many features, such as perpendicular stochastic heating rates and turbulence spectral slopes are fairly similar inside andmore »outside of SBs. However, important kinetic properties, such as the characteristic break scale between the inertial to dissipation ranges differ inside and outside these intervals, as does the level of intermittency, which is notably enhanced inside SBs and in their close proximity, most likely due to magnetic field and velocity shears observed at the edges. We conclude that the plasma inside and outside of an SB, in most of the observed cases, belongs to the same stream, and that the evolution of these structures is most likely regulated by kinetic processes, which dominate small-scale structures at the SB edges.« less
  5. Magnetic wave perturbations are observed in the solar wind and in the vicinity of Earth's bow shock. For such environments, recent work on magnetic pumping with electrons trapped in the magnetic perturbations has demonstrated the possibility of efficient energization of superthermal electrons. Here we also analyse the energization of such energetic electrons for which the transit time through the system is short compared with time scales associated with the magnetic field evolution. In particular, considering an idealized magnetic configuration we show how trapping/detrapping of energetic magnetized electrons can cause effective parallel velocity ( $v_{\parallel }$ -) diffusion. This parallel diffusion,more »combined with naturally occurring mechanisms known to cause pitch angle scattering, such as whistler waves, produces enhanced heating rates for magnetic pumping. We find that at low pitch angle scattering rates, the combined mechanism enhances the heating beyond the predictions of the recent theory for magnetic pumping with trapped electrons.« less
  6. Abstract The hot and diffuse nature of the Sun’s extended atmosphere allows it to persist in non-equilibrium states for long enough that wave–particle instabilities can arise and modify the evolution of the expanding solar wind. Determining which instabilities arise, and how significant a role they play in governing the dynamics of the solar wind, has been a decades-long process involving in situ observations at a variety of radial distances. With new measurements from the Parker Solar Probe (PSP), we can study what wave modes are driven near the Sun, and calculate what instabilities are predicted for different models of themore »underlying particle populations. We model two hours-long intervals of PSP/SPAN-i measurements of the proton phase-space density during the PSP’s fourth perihelion with the Sun using two commonly used descriptions for the underlying velocity distribution. The linear stability and growth rates associated with the two models are calculated and compared. We find that both selected intervals are susceptible to resonant instabilities, though the growth rates and kinds of modes driven unstable vary depending on whether the protons are modeled using one or two components. In some cases, the predicted growth rates are large enough to compete with other dynamic processes, such as the nonlinear turbulent transfer of energy, in contrast with relatively slower instabilities at larger radial distances from the Sun.« less