Parker Solar Probe Bibliography

2020

<p>The Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun (IS☉IS) instrument suite on the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) spacecraft is making in situ observations of energetic ions and electrons closer to the Sun than any previous mission. Using data collected during its first two orbits, which reached perihelion distances of 0.17 au, we have searched for \&nbsp;3\&nbsp;He\&nbsp;3He -rich solar energetic particle (SEP) events under very quiet solar minimum conditions. On 2019-110-111 (April 20-21), \&nbsp;3\&nbsp;He\&nbsp;3He -rich SEPs were observed at energies near 1 MeV nucleon<sup>-1</sup> in association with energetic protons, heavy ions, and electrons. This activity was also detected by the Ultra-Low-Energy Isotope Spectrometer and the Electron, Proton, and Alpha Monitor instruments on the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft located near Earth, 0.99 au from the Sun. At that time, PSP and ACE were both magnetically connected to locations…
2020


<p>One of the most striking observations made by Parker Solar Probe during its first solar encounter is the omnipresence of rapid polarity reversals in a magnetic field that is otherwise mostly radial. These so-called switchbacks strongly affect the dynamics of the magnetic field. We concentrate here on their macroscopic properties. First, we find that these structures are self-similar, and have neither a characteristic magnitude, nor a characteristic duration. Their waiting time statistics show evidence of aggregation. The associated long memory resides in their occurrence rate, and is not inherent to the background fluctuations. Interestingly, the spectral properties of inertial range turbulence differ inside and outside of switchback structures; in the latter the 1/f range extends to higher frequencies. These results suggest that outside of these structures we are in the presence of lower-amplitude fluctuations with a shorter turbulent inertial range. We conjecture that these…
2020


<p>Switchbacks (rotations of the magnetic field) are observed on the Parker Solar Probe. Their evolution, content, and plasma effects are studied in this paper. The solar wind does not receive a net acceleration from switchbacks that it encountered upstream of the observation point. The typical switchback rotation angle increased with radial distance. Significant Poynting fluxes existed inside, but not outside, switchbacks, and the dependence of the Poynting flux amplitude on the switchback radial location and rotation angle is explained quantitatively as being proportional to (B sin(θ))<sup>2</sup>. The solar wind flow inside switchbacks was faster than that outside due to the frozen-in ions moving with the magnetic structure at the Alfv\ en speed. This energy gain results from the divergence of the Poynting flux from outside to inside the switchback, which produces a loss of electromagnetic energy on switchback entry and recovery of that energy on exit, with the…
2020


<p>In contrast with the fast solar wind, which originates in coronal holes, the source of the slow solar wind is still debated. Often intermittent and enriched with low first ionization potential elements\textemdashakin to what is observed in closed coronal loops\textemdashthe slow wind could form in bursty events nearby helmet streamers. Slow winds also exhibit density perturbations that have been shown to be periodic and could be associated with flux ropes ejected from the tip of helmet streamers, as shown recently by the WISPR white-light imager on board Parker Solar Probe (PSP). In this work, we propose that the main mechanism controlling the release of flux ropes is a flow-modified tearing mode at the heliospheric current sheet (HCS). We use magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the solar wind and corona to reproduce realistic configurations and outflows surrounding the HCS. We find that this process is able to explain long (\~10-20 hr) and short (\~1-2 hr) timescales of…
2020


<p>On 2019 April 5, while the Parker Solar Probe was at its 35 solar radius perihelion, the data set collected at 293 samples/s contained more than 10,000 examples of spiky electric-field-like structures with durations less than 200 milliseconds and amplitudes greater than 10 mV m<sup>-1</sup>. The vast majority of these events were caused by plasma turbulence. Defining dust events as those with similar, narrowly peaked, positive, and single-ended signatures resulted in finding 135 clear dust events, which, after correcting for the low detection efficiently, resulted in an estimate consistent with the 1000 dust events expected from other techniques. Defining time domain structures (TDS) as those with opposite polarity signals in the opposite antennas resulted in finding 238 clear TDS events which, after correcting for the detection efficiency, resulted in an estimated 500-1000 TDS events on this day. The TDS electric fields were bipolar, as expected for electron…
2020


<p>The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) achieved its first orbit perihelion on 2018 November 6, reaching a heliocentric distance of about 0.165 au (35.55 R<sub>☉</sub>). Here, we study the evolution of fully developed turbulence associated with the slow solar wind along the PSP trajectory between 35.55 R<sub>☉</sub> and 131.64 R<sub>☉</sub> in the outbound direction, comparing observations to a theoretical turbulence transport model. Several turbulent quantities, such as the fluctuating kinetic energy and the corresponding correlation length, the variance of density fluctuations, and the solar wind proton temperature are determined from the PSP Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons (SWEAP) plasma data along its trajectory between 35.55 R<sub>☉</sub> and 131.64 R<sub>☉</sub>. The evolution of the PSP derived turbulent quantities are compared to the numerical solutions of the nearly incompressible magnetohydrodynamic (NI MHD)…
2020


<p>Context. The launch of\&nbsp;Parker\&nbsp;Solar\&nbsp;Probe\&nbsp;(PSP) in 2018, followed by\&nbsp;Solar\&nbsp;Orbiter (SO) in February 2020, has opened a new window in the exploration of\&nbsp;solar\&nbsp;magnetic activity and the origin of the heliosphere. These missions, together with other space observatories dedicated to\&nbsp;solar\&nbsp;observations, such as the\&nbsp;Solar\&nbsp;Dynamics Observatory, Hinode, IRIS, STEREO, and SOHO, with complementary in situ observations from WIND and ACE, and ground based multi-wavelength observations including the DKIST observatory that has just seen first light, promise to revolutionize our understanding of the\&nbsp;solar\&nbsp;atmosphere and of\&nbsp;solar\&nbsp;activity, from the generation and emergence of the Sun\textquoterights magnetic field to the creation of the\&nbsp;solar\&nbsp;wind and the acceleration of\&nbsp;solar\&nbsp;energetic…
2020


<p>On August 12, 2018, NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) to explore regions very near the Sun. Losing enough energy and angular momentum to approach the Sun requires either an impractical amount of fuel or a maneuver called a gravity assist. A gravity assist is essentially an elastic collision with a massive, moving target\textemdashRutherford scattering from a planet. Gravity assists are often used to gain energy in missions destined for the outer solar system, but they can also be used to lose energy. Reaching an orbit sufficiently close to the Sun requires that PSP undergoes not one but seven successive gravity assists off the planet Venus. This simple description poses several conceptual challenges to the curious physics student. Why is it so much more challenging to get to the Sun than to leave the Solar System? Why does it take more than one gravity assist to achieve this, and why does it require seven? Would it be more effective to use Mercury instead of Venus?…
2020


<p>Detection of the solar wind speed near the Sun is significant in understanding the heating and acceleration of the solar wind. Cometary plasma tails have long been used as natural probes for solar wind speed; previous solar wind speed estimates via plasma tails, however, were based on comet images from a single viewpoint, and the projection effect may influence the result. Using stereoscopic observations from the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, we three-dimensionally reconstruct the plasma tails of three comets C/2012 S1 (ISON), C/2010 E6, and C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy) and infer the ambient solar wind speed. The first comet is located between 3.5 and 6 solar radii (Rs) away from the Sun at high latitudes; the estimated solar wind speed is about 300-500 km s<sup>-1</sup>. The second comet is located within 10 Rs and about 20\textdegree away from the ecliptic; the estimated solar wind speed is about 200-320 km s<sup…
2020


<p>Turbulence, a ubiquitous phenomenon in interplanetary space, is crucial for the energy conversion of space plasma at multiple scales. This work focuses on the propagation, polarization, and wave composition properties of the\&nbsp;solar\&nbsp;wind turbulence within 0.3 au, and its variation with heliocentric distance at magnetohydrodynamic scales (from 10 s to 1000 s in the spacecraft frame). We present the probability density function of propagation wavevectors (PDF (k(parallel to),k)) for\&nbsp;solar\&nbsp;wind turbulence within 0.3 au for the first time: (1) wavevectors cluster quasi-(anti-)parallel to the local background magnetic field forkd(i) \&lt; 0.02, whered(i)is the ion inertial length; (2) wavevectors shift to quasi-perpendicular directions forkd(i) \&gt; 0.02. Based on our wave composition diagnosis, we find that: the outward/anti-sunward Alfven mode dominates over the whole range of scales and distances, the spectral energy density…
2020


<p>Characterizing the large-scale structure and plasma properties of the inner corona is crucial to understanding the source and subsequent expansion of the solar wind and related space weather effects. Here, we apply a new coronal rotational tomography method, along with a method to narrow streamers and refine the density estimate, to COR2A/Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory observations from a period near solar minimum and maximum, gaining density maps for heights between 4 and 8R<sub>☉</sub>. The coronal structure is highly radial at these heights, and the streamers are very narrow: in some regions, only a few degrees in width. The mean densities of streamers is almost identical between solar minimum and maximum. However, streamers at solar maximum contain around 50\% more total mass due to their larger area. By assuming a constant mass flux, and constraints on proton flux measured by Parker Solar Probe (PSP), we estimate an outflow speed within solar minimum…
2020


<p>The Wide-field Imager for Solar Probe (WISPR) on board the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) observed a coronal mass ejection (CME) on 2018 November 1, the first day of the initial PSP encounter. The speed of the CME, approximately 200-300 km s<sup>-1</sup> in the WISPR field of view, is typical of slow, streamer blowout CMEs. This event was also observed by the Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph Experiment (LASCO) coronagraphs. WISPR and LASCO view remarkably similar structures that enable useful cross-comparison between the two data sets as well as stereoscopic imaging of the CME. An analysis is extended to lower heights by linking the white-light observations to extreme ultraviolet (EUV) data from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly, which reveal a structure that erupts more than a full day earlier before the CME finally gathers enough velocity to propagate outward. This EUV feature appears as a brightness enhancement in cooler temperatures, such as 171 \r A, but as…
2020


The interpretation of multi-spacecraft heliospheric observations and three-dimensional reconstruction of the structured and evolving solar wind with propagating and interacting coronal mass ejections (CMEs) is a challenging task. Numerical simulations can provide global context and suggest what may and may not be observed. The Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC) provides both mission science and space weather support to all heliospheric missions. Currently, this is realized by real-time simulations of the corotating and transient disturbances by the WSA-ENLIL-Cone model. We have simulated the heliospheric space weather relevant to the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) mission since 2018 September and provided numerical results to our colleagues analyzing in situ measurements published in the ApJS Special Issue. In this paper, we do not analyze PSP data, but we present recent updates in simulating the background solar wind and compare them with an existing operational model around the…
2020


During Parker Solar Probe s first two orbits, there are widespread observations of rapid magnetic field reversals known as switchbacks. These switchbacks are extensively found in the near-Sun solar wind, appear to occur in patches, and have possible links to various phenomena such as magnetic reconnection near the solar surface. As switchbacks are associated with faster plasma flows, we questioned whether they are hotter than the background plasma and whether the microphysics inside a switchback is different to its surroundings. We have studied the reduced distribution functions from the Solar Probe Cup instrument and considered time periods with markedly large angular deflections to compare parallel temperatures inside and outside switchbacks. We have shown that the reduced distribution functions inside switchbacks are consistent with a rigid velocity space rotation of the background plasma. As such, we conclude that the proton core parallel temperature is very similar inside and…
2020


The Parker Solar Probe successfully makes electric field measurements over the frequency range of DC-100 Hz, thanks to the remarkable symmetry of the antennas with respect to sunlight and the mostly radial magnetic field. Calibration of the electric field measurement is described. Sampled electric and magnetic field data are utilized to determine wave modes of whistlers and Alfven-ion-cyclotron waves. In the course of such determinations, the electric field effective antenna length was found to vary with frequency from similar to 1 m at low frequencies to essentially the antenna half-geometric length of 3.5 m above 20 Hz. Properties of the low-frequency electric field power as functions of frequency and radial distance are determined. There is a plateau in the electric field power spectrum above similar to 10 Hz, which is due to the power in waves exceeding the turbulent cascade power above that frequency. This wave power decreases by one to two orders of magnitude from 35 to 50 solar…
2020


We present a technique for deriving the temperature anisotropy of solar wind protons observed by the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) mission in the near-Sun solar wind. The radial proton temperature measured by the Solar Wind Electrons, Alphas, and Protons (SWEAP) Solar Probe Cup is compared with the orientation of local magnetic field measured by the FIELDS fluxgate magnetometer, and the proton temperatures parallel and perpendicular to the magnetic field are extracted. This procedure is applied to different data products, and the results are compared and optimum timescales for data selection and trends in the uncertainty in the method are identified. We find that the moment-based proton temperature anisotropy is more physically consistent with the expected limits of the mirror and firehose instabilities, possibly because the nonlinear fits do not capture a significant non-Maxwellian shape to the proton velocity distribution function near the Sun. The proton beam has a small effect on total…
2020


The Parker Solar Probe mission has shown the ubiquitous presence of strong magnetic field deflections, namely switchbacks, during its first perihelion where it was embedded in a highly Alfvenic slow stream. Here, we study the turbulent magnetic fluctuations around ion scales in three intervals characterized by a different switchback activity, identified by the behavior of the magnetic field radial component, B-r. Quiet (B-r does not show significant fluctuations), weakly disturbed (B-r has strong fluctuations but no reversals), and highly disturbed (B-r has full reversals) periods also show different behavior for ion quantities. However, the spectral analysis shows that each stream is characterized by the typical Kolmogorov/Kraichnan power law in the inertial range, followed by a break around the characteristic ion scales. This frequency range is characterized by strong intermittent activity, with the presence of noncompressive coherent events, such as current sheets, vortex-like…
2020


The aim of this study is to investigate through modelling how sputtering by impacting solar wind ions influences the lifetime of dust particles in the inner heliosphere near the Sun. We consider three typical dust materials, silicate, Fe0.4Mg0.6O, and carbon, and describe their sputtering yields based on atomic yields given by the Stopping and Range of Ions in Matter (SRIM) package. The influence of the solar wind is characterized by plasma density, solar wind speed, and solar wind composition, and we assume for these parameter values that are typical for fast solar wind, slow solar wind, and coronal mass ejection (CME) conditions to calculate the sputtering lifetimes of dust. To compare the sputtering lifetimes to typical sublimation lifetimes, we use temperature estimates based on Mie calculations and material vapour pressure derived with the MAGMA chemical equilibrium code. We also compare the sputtering lifetimes to the Poynting-Robertson lifetime and to the collision lifetime. We…
2020


In situ measurements of the solar wind have been available for almost 60 years, and in that time plasma physics simulation capabilities have commenced and ground-based solar observations have expanded into space-based solar observations. These observations and simulations have yielded an increasingly improved knowledge of fundamental physics and have delivered a remarkable understanding of the solar wind and its complexity. Yet there are longstanding major unsolved questions. Synthesizing inputs from the solar wind research community, nine outstanding questions of solar wind physics are developed and discussed in this commentary. These involve questions about the formation of the solar wind, about the inherent properties of the solar wind (and what the properties say about its formation), and about the evolution of the solar wind. The questions focus on (1) origin locations on the Sun, (2) plasma release, (3) acceleration, (4) heavy-ion abundances and charge states, (5) magnetic…
2020


Reconnection between pairs of solar magnetic flux elements, one open and the other a closed loop, is theorized to be a crucial process for both maintaining the structure of the corona and producing the solar wind. This interchange reconnection is expected to be particularly active at the open-closed boundaries of coronal holes (CHs). Previous analysis of solar wind data at 1 au indicated that peaks in the flux of suprathermal electrons at slow-fast stream interfaces may arise from magnetic connection to the CH boundary, rather than dynamic effects such as compression. Further, offsets between the peak and stream interface locations are suggested to be the result of interchange reconnection at the source. As a preliminary test of these suggestions, we analyse two solar wind streams observed during the first Parker Solar Probe (PSP) perihelion encounter, each associated with equatorial CH boundaries (one leading and one trailing with respect to rotation). Each stream features a peak…
2020


The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) and Solar Orbiter missions are designed to make groundbreaking observations of the Sun and interplanetary space within this decade. We show that a particularly interesting in situ observation of an interplanetary coronal mass ejection (ICME) by PSP may arise during close solar flybys (<0.1 au). During these times, the same magnetic flux rope inside an ICME could be observed in situ by PSP twice, by impacting its frontal part as well as its leg. Investigating the odds of this situation, we forecast the ICME rate in solar cycle 25 based on two models for the sunspot number (SSN): (1) the forecast of an expert panel in 2019 (maximum SSN = 115), and (2) a prediction by McIntosh et al. (2020, maximum SSN = 232). We link the SSN to the observed ICME rates in solar cycles 23 and 24 with the Richardson and Cane list and our own ICME catalog, and calculate that between one and seven ICMEs will be observed by PSP at heliocentric distances <0.1 au until 2025,…
2020


Small-scale magnetic flux ropes (SFRs) are a type of structure in the solar wind that possess helical magnetic field lines. In a recent report we presented the radial variations of the properties of SFRs from 0.29 to 8 au using in situ measurements from the Helios, Advanced Composition Explorer/WIND (ACE/Wind), Ulysses, and Voyager spacecrafts. With the launch of the Parker Solar Probe (PSP), we extend our previous investigation further into the inner heliosphere. We apply a Grad–Shafranov-based algorithm to identify SFRs during the first two PSP encounters. We find that the number of SFRs detected near the Sun is much less than at larger radial distances, where magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence may act as the local source to produce these structures. The prevalence of Alfvénic structures significantly suppresses the detection of SFRs at closer distances. We compare the SFR event list with other event identification methods, yielding a dozen well-matched events. The cross-section…
2020


We present results of a two-dimensional fully kinetic particle-in-cell simulation in order to shed light on the role of whistler waves in the scattering of strahl electrons and in the heat-flux regulation in the solar wind. We model the electron velocity distribution function as initially composed of core and strahl populations as typically encountered in the near-Sun solar wind as observed by Parker Solar Probe. We demonstrate that, as a consequence of the evolution of the electron velocity distribution function (VDF), two branches of the whistler heat-flux instability can be excited, which can drive whistler waves propagating in the direction oblique or parallel to the background magnetic field. First, oblique whistler waves induce pitch-angle scattering of strahl electrons, toward higher perpendicular velocities. This leads to the broadening of the strahl pitch-angle distribution and hence to the formation of a halo-like population at the expense of the strahl. Later on, the…
2020


The origin, structure, and propagation characteristics of a switchback are compelling questions posed by Parker Solar Probe (PSP) observations of velocity spikes and magnetic field reversals. By assuming interchange reconnection between coronal loop and open magnetic field, we show that this results in the generation of upward (into the heliosphere) and downward complex structures propagating at the fast magnetosonic speed (i.e., the Alfvén speed in the low plasma beta corona) that can have an arbitrary radial magnetic field deflection, including “S-shaped.” We derive the evolution equation for the switchback radial magnetic field as it propagates through the inhomogeneous supersonic solar corona. An analytic solution for arbitrary initial conditions is used to investigate the properties of a switchback propagating from launch ∼6 to ∼35 R ⊙ where PSP observed switchbacks during its first encounter. We provide a detailed comparison to an example event, showing that the magnetic field…
2020


Energy supply sources for the heating process in the slow solar wind remain unknown. The Parker Solar Probe (PSP) mission provides a good opportunity to study this issue. Recently, PSP observations have found that the slow solar wind experiences stronger heating inside 0.24 au. Here for the first time we measure in the slow solar wind the radial gradient of the low-frequency breaks on the magnetic trace power spectra and evaluate the associated energy supply rate. We find that the energy supply rate is consistent with the observed perpendicular heating rate calculated based on the gradient of the magnetic moment. Based on this finding, one could explain why the slow solar wind is strongly heated inside 0.25 au but expands nearly adiabatically outside 0.25 au. This finding supports the concept that the energy added from the energy-containing range is transferred by an energy cascade process to the dissipation range, and then dissipates to heat the slow solar wind. The related issues…
2020