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Switchbacks as signatures of magnetic flux ropes generated by interchange reconnection in the corona

AuthorDrake, J.; Agapitov, A.; Swisdak, M.; Badman, S.; Bale, S.; Horbury, T.; Kasper, Justin; MacDowall, R.; Mozer, F.; Phan, T.; Pulupa, M.; Szabo, A.; Velli, M.;
KeywordsParker Data Used; parker solar probe; Solar Probe Plus
AbstractThe structure of magnetic flux ropes injected into the solar wind during reconnection in the coronal atmosphere is explored with particle-in-cell simulations and compared with in situ measurements of magnetic switchbacks from the Parker Solar Probe. We suggest that multi-x-line reconnection between open and closed flux in the corona injects flux ropes into the solar wind and that these flux ropes convect outward over long distances before eroding due to reconnection. Simulations that explore the magnetic structure of flux ropes in the solar wind reproduce the following key features of the switchback observations: a rapid rotation of the radial magnetic field into the transverse direction, which is a consequence of reconnection with a strong guide field; and the potential to reverse the radial field component. The potential implication of the injection of large numbers of flux ropes in the coronal atmosphere for understanding the generation of the solar wind is discussed.
Year of Publication2020
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Number of PagesA2
Date Publishedjun