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The Structure and Origin of Switchbacks: Parker Solar Probe Observations

Abstract : During its initial several orbits of the Sun, Parker Solar Probe (PSP) observed abundant switchbacks, which are characterized by rapid magnetic field polarity reversals. These observations pose many open questions in regards to the nature of switchbacks, for example, how are they generated and how stable are they propagate through the inner heliosphere. In this work, with more than one thousand switchbacks identified with PSP observations in Encounters 1, 2 and 4, we find that switchbacks have many more current-sheet like structures inside than outside, indicating that these micro-structures play an important role to maintain the S-shape structure of switchbacks. The alpha particle to proton abundance ratio (AHe), available during Encounter 4, gives us a compositional diagnostic for investigating their origins . We demonstrate that both helium-rich and helium-poor populations have been observed both inside and outside of the switchbacks, implying that they could originate from both closed and open magnetic field regions . Further analysis of ion differential flows suggest that reconnection may have some role on the fundamental dynamics of switchbacks.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-03560086
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Submitted on : Monday, February 7, 2022 - 1:04:41 PM
Last modification on : Monday, July 4, 2022 - 9:11:13 AM

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J. Huang, J. C. Kasper, L. A. Fisk, M. Mcmanus, J. Verniero, et al.. The Structure and Origin of Switchbacks: Parker Solar Probe Observations. American Geophysical Union, 2020, Online, France. 18 pp. ⟨insu-03560086⟩

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