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Statistical Study of Anisotropic Proton Heating in Interplanetary Magnetic Switchbacks Measured by Parker Solar Probe

Luo, Qiaowen; Duan, Die; He, Jiansen; Zhu, Xingyu; Verscharen, Daniel; Cui, Jun; Lai, Hairong; (2023) Statistical Study of Anisotropic Proton Heating in Interplanetary Magnetic Switchbacks Measured by Parker Solar Probe. The Astrophysical Journal Letters , 952 (2) , Article L40. 10.3847/2041-8213/acce9f. Green open access

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Abstract

Magnetic switchbacks, which are large angular deflections of the interplanetary magnetic field, are frequently observed by Parker Solar Probe (PSP) in the inner heliosphere. Magnetic switchbacks are believed to play an important role in the heating of the solar corona and the solar wind as well as the acceleration of the solar wind in the inner heliosphere. Here, we analyze magnetic field data and plasma data measured by PSP during its second and fourth encounters, and select 71 switchback events with reversals of the radial component of the magnetic field at times of unchanged electron-strahl pitch angles. We investigate the anisotropic thermal kinetic properties of plasma during switchbacks in a statistical study of the measured proton temperatures in the parallel and perpendicular directions as well as proton density and specific proton fluid entropy. We apply the “genetic algorithm” method to directly fit the measured velocity distribution functions in field-aligned coordinates using a two-component bi-Maxwellian distribution function. We find that the protons in most switchback events are hotter than the ambient plasma outside the switchbacks, with characteristics of parallel and perpendicular heating. Specifically, significant parallel and perpendicular temperature increases are seen for 45 and 62 of the 71 events, respectively. We find that the density of most switchback events decreases rather than increases, which indicates that proton heating inside the switchbacks is not caused by adiabatic compression, but is probably generated by nonadiabatic heating caused by field–particle interactions. Accordingly, the proton fluid entropy is greater inside the switchbacks than in the ambient solar wind.

Type: Article
Title: Statistical Study of Anisotropic Proton Heating in Interplanetary Magnetic Switchbacks Measured by Parker Solar Probe
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/acce9f
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213%2Facce9f
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 IOP Publishing. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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/10174738
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