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Parametric Decay and the Origin of the Low-frequency Alfv\ enic Spectrum of the Solar Wind

AuthorRéville, Victor; Tenerani, Anna; Velli, Marco;
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 Alfv\ en 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 Alfv\ en 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 Alfv\ enic fluctuations are unstable to the parametric instability. Parametric instability enables an inverse energy cascade by exciting several-hour-long periods of Alfv\ enic 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.

Year of Publication2018
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Number of Pages38
Date Published10/2018