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Switchbacks in the Near-Sun Magnetic Field: Long Memory and Impact on the Turbulence Cascade

Authorde Wit, Thierry; Krasnoselskikh, Vladimir; Bale, Stuart; Bonnell, John; Bowen, Trevor; Chen, Christopher; Froment, Clara; Goetz, Keith; Harvey, Peter; Jagarlamudi, Vamsee; Larosa, Andrea; MacDowall, Robert; Malaspina, David; Matthaeus, William; Pulupa, Marc; Velli, Marco; Whittlesey, Phyllis;
KeywordsAstrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics; Parker Data Used; parker solar probe; Physics - Space Physics; Solar Probe Plus

One of the most striking observations made by Parker Solar Probe during its first solar encounter is the omnipresence of rapid polarity reversals in a magnetic field that is otherwise mostly radial. These so-called switchbacks strongly affect the dynamics of the magnetic field. We concentrate here on their macroscopic properties. First, we find that these structures are self-similar, and have neither a characteristic magnitude, nor a characteristic duration. Their waiting time statistics show evidence of aggregation. The associated long memory resides in their occurrence rate, and is not inherent to the background fluctuations. Interestingly, the spectral properties of inertial range turbulence differ inside and outside of switchback structures; in the latter the 1/f range extends to higher frequencies. These results suggest that outside of these structures we are in the presence of lower-amplitude fluctuations with a shorter turbulent inertial range. We conjecture that these correspond to a pristine solar wind.

Year of Publication2020
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series
Number of Pages39
Date Published02/2020