MHD Mode Composition in the Inner Heliosphere from the Parker Solar Probe's First Perihelion

C. C. Chaston, J. W. Bonnell, S. D. Bale, J. C. Kasper, M. Pulupa, T. Dudok De Wit, T. A. Bowen, D. E. Larson, P. L. Whittlesey, J. R. Wygant, C. S. Salem, R. J. MacDowall, R. L. Livi, D. Vech, A. W. Case, M. L. Stevens, K. E. Korreck, K. Goetz, P. R. Harvey, D. M. Malaspina

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Field and plasma variations during the first perihelion pass of the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) from 53 into 35 solar radii (R S) from the Sun and over a frequency range in the spacecraft frame (f SC) from 0.0002 to 0.2 Hz are decomposed into constituent magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) modes. The analysis operates on measurements of the MHD variables recorded between impulsive, large amplitude rotations of the magnetic field to reveal the dominance of a broad spectrum of shear Alfvén waves propagating antiparallel (backward) to the background magnetic field ( B 0) with a significant fraction of spectral energy density in the backward slow mode and, to a lesser extent, fast mode waves. While all three MHD modes provide Poynting flux directed outward from the Sun the impulsive rotations of B 0 from inward to outward radial orientations provide intervals of outward and inward propagation in the plasma frame, respectively. This morphology is suggestive of outward wave propagation from a near Sun source along kinked field lines that provide alternating radial B 0 orientations as the magnetic field is advected with the flow over the spacecraft. Shear Alfvén and slow mode spectral energy density is generally largest within intervals of reversed radial B 0, while the fast mode tends to occur outside these regions, albeit with lower intensity. The spectral energy density in the forward propagating modes increases with f SC above 0.01 Hz, which is suggestive of back scatter in the plasma frame of the dominant backward modes from the radial field reversals and associated inhomogeneities of the embedded plasmas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number71
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020

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