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Parker Solar Probe observations of suprathermal electron flux enhancements originating from Coronal Hole boundaries

Macneil, AR; Owens, MJ; Berčič, L; Finley, AJ; (2020) Parker Solar Probe observations of suprathermal electron flux enhancements originating from Coronal Hole boundaries. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society , 498 (4) pp. 5273-5283. 10.1093/mnras/staa2660. Green open access

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Abstract

Reconnection between pairs of solar magnetic flux elements, one open and the other a closed loop, is theorized to be a crucial process for both maintaining the structure of the corona and producing the solar wind. This ‘interchange reconnection’ is expected to be particularly active at the open-closed boundaries of coronal holes (CHs). Previous analysis of solar wind data at 1 au indicated that peaks in the flux of suprathermal electrons at slow–fast stream interfaces may arise from magnetic connection to the CH boundary, rather than dynamic effects such as compression. Further, offsets between the peak and stream interface locations are suggested to be the result of interchange reconnection at the source. As a preliminary test of these suggestions, we analyse two solar wind streams observed during the first Parker Solar Probe (PSP) perihelion encounter, each associated with equatorial CH boundaries (one leading and one trailing with respect to rotation). Each stream features a peak in suprathermal electron flux, the locations and associated plasma properties of which are indicative of a solar origin, in agreement with previous suggestions from 1 au observations. Discrepancies between locations of the flux peaks and other features suggest that these peaks may too be shifted by source region interchange reconnection. Our interpretation of each event is compatible with a global pattern of open flux transport, although random footpoint motions or other explanations remain feasible. These exploratory results highlight future opportunities for statistical studies regarding interchange reconnection and flux transport at CH boundaries with modern near-Sun missions.

Type: Article
Title: Parker Solar Probe observations of suprathermal electron flux enhancements originating from Coronal Hole boundaries
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/mnras/staa2660
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/staa2660
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: magnetic reconnection, Sun: heliosphere, Sun: magnetic fields, (Sun): solar wind
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Space and Climate Physics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10113233
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