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Magnetic Field Dropouts at Near-Sun Switchback Boundaries: A Superposed Epoch Analysis

AuthorFarrell, W.; MacDowall, R.; Gruesbeck, J.; Bale, S.; Kasper, J.;
KeywordsParker Data Used; parker solar probe; Solar Physics; Solar Probe Plus; Solar wind; The Sun

During Parker Solar Probe\textquoterights first close encounter with the Sun in early 2018 November, a large number of impulsive rotations in the magnetic field were detected within 50 Rs; these also occurred in association with short-lived impulsive solar wind bursts in speed. These impulsive features are now called "switchback" events. We examined a set of these switchbacks where the boundary transition into and out of the switchback was abrupt, with fast B rotations and simultaneous solar wind speed changes occurring on timescales of less than \~10 s; these thus appear as step function-like changes in the radial component of B and V. Our objective was to search for any diamagnetic effects that might occur especially if the boundaries are associated with quick changes in density (i.e., a steep spatial density gradient at the switchback boundary). We identified 25 switchback entries where the radial component of B, Br, quickly transitioned from large negative to positive values and Vr simultaneously abruptly increased (i.e., step-up transitions) and 28 switchback exits where Br quickly transitioned from large positive to negative values and Vr simultaneously abruptly decreased (i.e., step-down transitions). We then performed a superposed epoch analysis on each of these sets of events. We found these fast-transitioning events typically had a clear and distinct decrease in the magnetic field magnitude by 7\%-8\% detected exactly at the boundary. The presence of the |B|\ |B| dropout suggests there is a diamagnetic current present at the boundary.

Year of Publication2020
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series
Number of Pages28
Date Published08/2020