Parker Solar Probe Evidence for the Absence of Whistlers Close to the Sun to Scatter Strahl and to Regulate Heat Flux

C. Cattell, A. Breneman, J. Dombeck, E. Hanson, M. Johnson, J. Halekas, S. D. Bale, T. Dudok De Wit, K. Goetz, K. Goodrich, D. Malaspina, M. Pulupa, T. Case, J. C. Kasper, D. Larson, M. Stevens, C. Cattell, P. Whittlesey

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Using the Parker Solar Probe FIELDS bandpass-filter data and SWEAP electron data from Encounters 1 through 9, we show statistical properties of narrowband whistlers from ~16 R s to ~130 R s, and compare wave occurrence to electron properties including beta, temperature anisotropy, and heat flux. Whistlers are very rarely observed inside ~28 R s (~0.13 au). Outside 28 R s, they occur within a narrow range of parallel electron beta from ~1 to 10, and with a beta-heat flux occurrence consistent with the whistler heat flux fan instability. Because electron distributions inside ~30 R s display signatures of the ambipolar electric field, the lack of whistlers suggests that the modification of the electron distribution function associated with the ambipolar electric field or changes in other plasma properties must result in lower instability limits for the other modes (including the observed solitary waves and ion acoustic waves) that are observed close to the Sun. The lack of narrowband whistler-mode waves close to the Sun and in regions of either low (<0.1) or high (>10) beta is also significant for the understanding and modeling of the evolution of flare-accelerated electrons and the regulation of heat flux in astrophysical settings including other stellar winds, the interstellar medium, accretion disks, and the intragalaxy cluster medium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL33
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 10 2022

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© 2022. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society..


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