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Solar wind current sheets and deHoffmann-Teller analysis. First results from Solar Orbiter s DC electric field measurements

AuthorSteinvall, K.; Khotyaintsev, Yu.; Cozzani, G.; Vaivads, A.; Yordanova, E.; Eriksson, A.~I.; Edberg, N.~J.~T.; Maksimovic, M.; Bale, S.~D.; Chust, T.; Krasnoselskikh, V.; Kretzschmar, M.; Lorfèvre, E.; Plettemeier, D.; Sou\vcek, J.; Steller, M.; ak, \vS.; Vecchio, A.; Horbury, T.~S.; Brien, H.; Evans, V.; Fedorov, A.; Louarn, P.; enot, V.; e, Andr\; Lavraud, B.; Rouillard, A.~P.; Owen, C.~J.;
KeywordsParker Data Used; Solar wind; plasmas; magnetic reconnection; methods: data analysis; Physics - Space Physics; Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics; Physics - Plasma Physics
AbstractContext. Solar Orbiter was launched on 10 February 2020 with the purpose of investigating solar and heliospheric physics using a payload of instruments designed for both remote and in situ studies. Similar to the recently launched Parker Solar Probe, and unlike earlier missions, Solar Orbiter carries instruments designed to measure low-frequency DC electric fields. \ Aims: In this paper, we assess the quality of the low-frequency DC electric field measured by the Radio and Plasma Waves instrument (RPW) on Solar Orbiter. In particular, we investigate the possibility of using Solar Orbiter s DC electric and magnetic field data to estimate the solar wind speed. \ Methods: We used a deHoffmann-Teller (HT) analysis, based on measurements of the electric and magnetic fields, to find the velocity of solar wind current sheets, which minimises a single component of the electric field. By comparing the HT velocity to the proton velocity measured by the Proton and Alpha particle Sensor (PAS), we have developed a simple model for the effective antenna length, L$_eff$ of the E-field probes. We then used the HT method to estimate the speed of the solar wind. \ Results: Using the HT method, we find that the observed variations in E$_y$ are often in excellent agreement with the variations in the magnetic field. The magnitude of E$_y$, however, is uncertain due to the fact that the L$_eff$ depends on the plasma environment. Here, we derive an empirical model relating L$_eff$ to the Debye length, which we can use to improve the estimate of E$_y$ and, consequently, the estimated solar wind speed. \ Conclusions: The low-frequency electric field provided by RPW is of high quality. Using the deHoffmann-Teller analysis, Solar Orbiter s magnetic and electric field measurements can be used to estimate the solar wind speed when plasma data are unavailable.
Year of Publication2021
Number of PagesA9
Date Publisheddec