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Features of Magnetic Field Switchbacks in Relation to the Local-field Geometry of Large-amplitude Alfv\ enic Oscillations: Wind and PSP Observations

AuthorBourouaine, Sofiane; Perez, Jean; Raouafi, Nour; Chandran, Benjamin; Bale, Stuart; Velli, Marco;
KeywordsParker Data Used; Heliosphere; Solar wind; 711; 1534; Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics; Physics - Space Physics
AbstractIn this Letter, we report observations of magnetic switchback (SB) features near 1 au using data from the Wind spacecraft. These features appear to be strikingly similar to the ones observed by the Parker Solar Probe mission closer to the Sun: namely, one- sided spikes (or enhancements) in the solar-wind bulk speed V that correlate/anticorrelate with the spikes seen in the radial- field component B $_ R $. In the solar-wind streams that we analyzed, these specific SB features near 1 au are associated with large-amplitude Alfv\ enic oscillations that propagate outward from the Sun along a local background (prevalent) magnetic field B $_0$ that is nearly radial. We also show that, when B $_0$ is nearly perpendicular to the radial direction, the large-amplitude Alfv\ enic oscillations display variations in V that are two sided (i.e., V alternately increases and decreases depending on the vector \ensuremath\Delta B = B - B $_0$). As a consequence, SBs may not always appear as one-sided spikes in V, especially at larger heliocentric distances where the local background field statistically departs from the radial direction. We suggest that SBs can be well described by large-amplitude Alfv\ enic fluctuations if the field rotation is computed with respect to a well-determined local background field that, in some cases, may deviate from the large-scale Parker field.
Year of Publication2022
Number of PagesL13
Date Publishedjun