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Suprathermal Ion Energy Spectra and Anisotropies near the Heliospheric Current Sheet Crossing Observed by the Parker Solar Probe during Encounter 7

AuthorDesai, M.~I.; Mitchell, D.~G.; McComas, D.~J.; Drake, J.~F.; Phan, T.; Szalay, J.~R.; Roelof, E.~C.; Giacalone, J.; Hill, M.~E.; Christian, E.~R.; Schwadron, N.~A.; McNutt, R.~L.; Wiedenbeck, M.~E.; Joyce, C.; Cohen, C.~M.~S.; Davis, A.~J.; Krimigis, S.~M.; Leske, R.~A.; Matthaeus, W.~H.; Malandraki, O.; Mewaldt, R.~A.; Labrador, A.; Stone, E.~C.; Bale, S.~D.; Verniero, J.; Rahmati, A.; Whittlesey, P.; Livi, R.; Larson, D.; Pulupa, M.; MacDowall, R.~J.; Niehof, J.~T.; Kasper, J.~C.; Horbury, T.~S.;
KeywordsParker Data Used; The Sun; Solar magnetic reconnection; Interplanetary particle acceleration; interplanetary magnetic fields; Heliosphere; 1693; 1504; 826; 824; 711; Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics; Physics - Space Physics
AbstractWe present observations of \ensuremath\gtrsim10-100 keV nucleon$^-1$ suprathermal (ST) H, He, O, and Fe ions associated with crossings of the heliospheric current sheet (HCS) at radial distances of <0.1 au from the Sun. Our key findings are as follows: (1) very few heavy ions are detected during the first full crossing, the heavy-ion intensities are reduced during the second partial crossing and peak just after the second crossing; (2) ion arrival times exhibit no velocity dispersion; (3) He pitch-angle distributions track the magnetic field polarity reversal and show up to \raisebox-0.5ex\textasciitilde10:1 anti-sunward, field-aligned flows and beams closer to the HCS that become nearly isotropic farther from the HCS; (4) the He spectrum steepens either side of the HCS, and the He, O, and Fe spectra exhibit power laws of the form \raisebox-0.5ex\textasciitildeE $^-4$-E $^6$; and (5) maximum energies E $_ X $ increase with the ion s charge- to-mass (Q/M) ratio as $E_X/E_H\propto (Q_X/M_X)^\delta $ , where \ensuremath\delta \raisebox-0.5ex\textasciitilde 0.65-0.76, assuming that the average Q states are similar to those measured in gradual and impulsive solar energetic particle events at 1 au. The absence of velocity dispersion in combination with strong field-aligned anisotropies closer to the HCS appears to rule out solar flares and near-Sun coronal-mass-ejection-driven shocks. These new observations present challenges not only for mechanisms that employ direct parallel electric fields and organize maximum energies according to E/Q but also for local diffusive and magnetic-reconnection-driven acceleration models. Reevaluation of our current understanding of the production and transport of energetic ions is necessary to understand this near-solar, current-sheet-associated population of ST ions.
Year of Publication2022
Number of Pages62
Date Publishedmar