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Tracking of magnetic helicity evolution in the inner heliosphere. A radial alignment study

AuthorAlberti, T.; Narita, Y.; Hadid, L.~Z.; Heyner, D.; Milillo, A.; Plainaki, C.; Auster, H.; Richter, I.;
KeywordsParker Data Used; Solar wind; Sun: fundamental parameters; Sun: heliosphere
AbstractContext. Magnetic helicity is one of the invariants in ideal magnetohydrodynamics, and its spectral evolution has a substantial amount of information to reveal the mechanism that are behind turbulence in space and astrophysical plasmas. \ Aims: The goal of our study is to observationally characterize the magnetic helicity evolution in the inner heliosphere by resolving the helicity transport in a scale-wise fashion in the spectral domain. \ Methods: The evolution of the magnetic helicity spectrum in the inner heliosphere was tracked using a radial alignment event achieved by Parker Solar Probe at a distance of 0.17 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun and BepiColombo at 0.58 AU with a delay of about 3.5 days. \ Results: The reduced magnetic helicity resolved in the frequency domain shows three main features: (1) a coherent major peak of a highly helical component at the lowest frequency at about 5 \texttimes 10$^\ensuremath-4$ Hz, (2) a damping of helicity oscillation at the intermediate frequencies from 10$^\ensuremath-3$ to 10$^\ensuremath-2$ Hz when observed at 0.58 AU, and (3) a coherent nonhelical component in the ion-kinetic range at frequencies of about 0.1 \ensuremath- 1 Hz. \ Conclusions: Though limited in the frequency range, the main message from this work is that the solar wind develops into turbulence by convecting large-scale helicity components on the one hand and creating and annihilating helical wave components on the other hand. Excitation of waves can overwrite the helicity profile in the inner heliosphere. By comparing this with the typical helicity spectra at a distance of 1 AU (that is, a randomly oscillating helicity sign in the intermediate frequency range up to about 1 Hz), the helicity evolution reaches a nearly asymptotic state at the Venus orbit (about 0.7 AU) and beyond.
Year of Publication2022
Number of PagesL8
Date Publishedaug