TitleParametric Decay and the Origin of the Low-frequency Alfvénic Spectrum of the Solar Wind
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsRéville, V, Tenerani, A, Velli, M
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Date Published10/2018
Keywordsinstabilities; magnetohydrodynamics: MHD; methods: numerical; parker solar probe; Solar Probe Plus; Solar wind; waves

The fast solar wind shows a wide spectrum of transverse magnetic and velocity field perturbations. These perturbations are strongly correlated in the sense of Alfvén waves propagating mostly outward, from the Sun to the interplanetary medium. They are likely to be fundamental to the acceleration and the heating of the solar wind. However, the precise origin of the broadband spectrum is unknown to date. Typical periods of chromospheric Alfvén waves are limited to a few minutes, and any longer period perturbations should be strongly reflected at the transition region. In this work, we show that minute long Alfvénic fluctuations are unstable to the parametric instability. Parametric instability enables an inverse energy cascade by exciting several-hour-long periods of Alfvénic fluctuations together with strong density fluctuations (typically between 1 and 20 R ☉). These results may improve our understanding of the origin of the solar wind turbulent spectrum and will be tested by the Parker Solar Probe.


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