The Heliospheric Current Sheet in the Inner Heliosphere Observed by the <i>Parker Solar Probe</i>

<p>The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) completed its first solar encounter in 2018 November, bringing it closer to the Sun than any previous mission. This allowed in situ investigation of the heliospheric current sheet (HCS) inside the orbit of Venus. The Parker observations reveal a well defined magnetic sector structure placing the spacecraft in a negative polarity region for most of the encounter. The observed current sheet crossings are compared to the predictions of both potential field source surface and magnetohydrodynamic models. All the model predictions are in good qualitative agreement with the observed crossings of the HCS. The models also generally agree that the HCS was nearly parallel with the solar equator during the inbound leg of the encounter and more significantly inclined during the outbound portion. The current sheet crossings at PSP are also compared to similar measurements made by the Wind spacecraft near Earth at 1 au. After allowing for orbital geometry and propagation effects, a remarkable agreement has been found between the observations of these two spacecraft underlying the large-scale stability of the HCS. Finally, the detailed magnetic field and plasma structure of each crossing is analyzed. Marked differences were observed between PSP and Wind measurements in the type of structures found near the HCS. This suggests that significant evolution of these small solar wind structures takes place before they reach 1 au.</p>
Year of Publication
The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series
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