Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsVelli, M, Lionello, R, Linker, JA, ć, Z
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Date Published07/2011
Keywordsparker solar probe; Solar Probe Plus; Solar wind; Sun: corona; Sun: heliosphere

The expansion of a coronal hole filled with a discrete number of higher density coronal plumes is simulated using a time-dependent two-dimensional code. A solar wind model including an exponential coronal heating function and a flux of Alfvén waves propagating both inside and outside the structures is taken as a basic state. Different plasma plume profiles are obtained by using different scale heights for the heating rates. Remote sensing and solar wind in situ observations are used to constrain the parameter range of the study. Time dependence due to plume ignition and disappearance is also discussed. Velocity differences of the order of 50 km s-1, such as those found in microstreams in the high-speed solar wind, may be easily explained by slightly different heat deposition profiles in different plumes. Statistical pressure balance in the fast wind data may be masked by the large variety of body and surface waves which the higher density filaments may carry, so the absence of pressure balance in the microstreams should not rule out their interpretation as the extension of coronal plumes into interplanetary space. Mixing of plume-interplume material via the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability seems to be possible within the parameter ranges of the models defined here, only at large distances from the Sun, beyond 0.2-0.3 AU. Plasma and composition measurements in the inner heliosphere, such as those which will become available with Solar Orbiter and Solar Probe Plus, should therefore definitely be able to identify plume remnants in the solar wind.


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