PSP Bibliography


  • Clicking on the DOI link will open a new window with the original bibliographic entry from the publisher.
  • Clicking on a single author will show all publications by the selected author.
  • Clicking on a single keyword, will show all publications by the selected keyword.

On the Origin of Switchbacks Observed in the Solar Wind

AuthorMozer, F.~S.; Bale, S.~D.; Bonnell, J.~W.; Drake, J.~F.; Hanson, E.~L.~M.; Mozer, M.~C.;
KeywordsSolar wind; Solar corona; Space plasmas; 1534; 1483; 1544; Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics; Physics - Space Physics; Parker Data Used
AbstractThe origin of switchbacks in the solar wind is discussed in two classes of theory that differ in the location of the source being either near the transition region near the Sun or in the solar wind itself. The two classes of theory differ in their predictions of the switchback rate (the number of switchbacks observed per hour) as a function of distance from the Sun. To distinguish between these theories, one-hour averages of Parker Solar Probe data were averaged over five orbits to find the following: (1) The hourly averaged switchback rate was independent of distance from the Sun. (2) The average switchback rate increased with solar wind speed. (3) The switchback size perpendicular to the flow increased as R, the distance from the Sun, while the radial size increased as R$^2$, resulting in an increasing switchback aspect ratio with distance from the Sun. (4) The hourly averaged and maximum switchback rotation angles did not depend on the solar wind speed or distance from the Sun. These results are consistent with switchback formation in the transition region because their increase of tangential size with radius compensates for the radial falloff of their equatorial density to produce switchback rates that are independent of radial distance. This constant switchback rate is inconsistent with an in situ source. The switchback size and aspect ratio, but not their hourly average or maximum rotation angle, increased with radial distance to 100 solar radii. Additionally, quiet intervals between switchback patches occurred at the lowest solar wind speeds.
Year of Publication2021
Number of Pages60
Date Publishedsep