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Inhomogeneous Kinetic Alfvén Waves in the Near-Sun Solar Wind

Abstract : Intervals of intense electromagnetic, broadband plasma waves are reported in the near-Sun solar wind. These waves are identified as kinetic Alfvén waves (KAWs), based on comparison between data and theory for their observed electric- to magnetic-field ratio, and magnetic compressibility, as a function of frequency. In contrast to KAW observations at 1 au, KAWs in the near-Sun solar wind are found to be spatially inhomogeneous, preferentially occurring where the ambient magnetic field experiences strong deviations from the Parker spiral direction, including during magnetic switchbacks and clusters of switchbacks. To the extent that turbulent fluctuations in the solar wind at small scales are characterized as KAWs, the observations reported here create an expectation that KAW-driven particle heating should also be inhomogeneous in the near-Sun solar wind, being strongest in regions of intense KAWs. Finally, a discrepancy between KAW observation and theory is identified at frequencies two decades above the frequency where kinetic effects begin to manifest, and possible origins of this discrepancy are considered.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-03776981
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - 2:12:30 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 15, 2022 - 4:14:10 AM

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David M. Malaspina, Alexandros Chasapis, Peter Tatum, Chadi Salem, Stuart D. Bale, et al.. Inhomogeneous Kinetic Alfvén Waves in the Near-Sun Solar Wind. The Astrophysical Journal, 2022, 936, ⟨10.3847/1538-4357/ac87a7⟩. ⟨insu-03776981⟩

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