Browsing by Subject "Solar wind"

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  • Wijsen, Nicolas; Samara, Evangelia; Aran, Angels; Lario, David; Pomoell, Jens; Poedts, Stefaan (2021)
    Solar wind stream interaction regions (SIRs) are often characterized by energetic ion enhancements. The mechanisms accelerating these particles, as well as the locations where the acceleration occurs, remain debated. Here, we report the findings of a simulation of a SIR event observed by Parker Solar Probe at similar to 0.56 au and the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory-Ahead at similar to 0.95 au in 2019 September when both spacecraft were approximately radially aligned with the Sun. The simulation reproduces the solar wind configuration and the energetic particle enhancements observed by both spacecraft. Our results show that the energetic particles are produced at the compression waves associated with the SIR and that the suprathermal tail of the solar wind is a good candidate to provide the seed population for particle acceleration. The simulation confirms that the acceleration process does not require shock waves and can already commence within Earth's orbit, with an energy dependence on the precise location where particles are accelerated. The three-dimensional configuration of the solar wind streams strongly modulates the energetic particle distributions, illustrating the necessity of advanced models to understand these particle events.
  • Scolini, Camilla; Chane, Emmanuel; Temmer, Manuela; Kilpua, Emilia K. J.; Dissauer, Karin; Veronig, Astrid M.; Palmerio, Erika; Pomoell, Jens; Dumbovic, Mateja; Guo, Jingnan; Rodriguez, Luciano; Poedts, Stefaan (2020)
    Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are the primary sources of intense disturbances at Earth, where their geo-effectiveness is largely determined by their dynamic pressure and internal magnetic field, which can be significantly altered during interactions with other CMEs in interplanetary space. We analyse three successive CMEs that erupted from the Sun during September 4-6, 2017, investigating the role of CME-CME interactions as source of the associated intense geomagnetic storm (Dst(min)=-142 nT on September 7). To quantify the impact of interactions on the (geo-)effectiveness of individual CMEs, we perform global heliospheric simulations with the EUHFORIA model, using observation-based initial parameters with the additional purpose of validating the predictive capabilities of the model for complex CME events. The simulations show that around 0.45 AU, the shock driven by the September 6 CME started compressing a preceding magnetic ejecta formed by the merging of two CMEs launched on September 4, significantly amplifying its B-z until a maximum factor of 2.8 around 0.9 AU. The following gradual conversion of magnetic energy into kinetic and thermal components reduced the B-z amplification until its almost complete disappearance around 1.8 AU. We conclude that a key factor at the origin of the intense storm triggered by the September 4-6, 2017 CMEs was their arrival at Earth during the phase of maximum B-z amplification. Our analysis highlights how the amplification of the magnetic field of individual CMEs in space-time due to interaction processes can be characterised by a growth, a maximum, and a decay phase, suggesting that the time interval between the CME eruptions and their relative speeds are critical factors in determining the resulting impact of complex CMEs at various heliocentric distances (helio-effectiveness).
  • Good, S. W.; Kilpua, E. K. J.; Ala-Lahti, M.; Osmane, A.; Bale, S. D.; Zhao, L. -L. (2020)
    Magnetic clouds are large-scale transient structures in the solar wind with low plasma-beta, low-amplitude magnetic field fluctuations, and twisted field lines with both ends often connected to the Sun. Their inertial-range turbulent properties have not been examined in detail. In this Letter, we analyze the normalized cross helicity, sigma(c), and residual energy, sigma(r), of plasma fluctuations in the 2018 November magnetic cloud observed at by the Parker Solar Probe. A low value of |sigma(c)| was present in the cloud core, indicating that wave power parallel and antiparallel to the mean field was approximately balanced, while the cloud's outer layers displayed larger amplitude Alfvenic fluctuations with high |sigma(c)| values and sigma(r) similar to 0. These properties are discussed in terms of the cloud's solar connectivity and local interaction with the solar wind. We suggest that low |sigma(c)| is likely a common feature of magnetic clouds given their typically closed field structure. Antisunward fluctuations propagating immediately upstream of the cloud had strongly negative sigma(r) values.
  • Wilson, Lynn B.; Chen, Li-Jen; Wang, Shan; Schwartz, Steven J.; Turner, Drew L.; Stevens, Michael L.; Kasper, Justin C.; Osmane, Adnane; Caprioli, Damiano; Bale, Stuart D.; Pulupa, Marc P.; Salem, Chadi S.; Goodrich, Katherine A. (2020)
    An analysis of model fit results of 15,210 electron velocity distribution functions (VDFs), observed within 2 hr of 52 interplanetary (IP) shocks by the Wind spacecraft near 1 au, is presented as the third and final part on electron VDFs near IP shocks. The core electrons and protons dominate in the magnitude and change in the partial-to-total thermal pressure ratio, with the core electrons often gaining as much or more than the protons. Only a moderate positive correlation is observed between the electron temperature and the kinetic energy change across the shock, while weaker, if any, correlations were found with any other macroscopic shock parameter. No VDF parameter correlated with the shock normal angle. The electron VDF evolves from a narrowly peaked core with flaring suprathermal tails in the upstream to either a slightly hotter core with steeper tails or much hotter flattop core with even steeper tails downstream of the weaker and strongest shocks, respectively. Both quasi-static and fluctuating fields are examined as possible mechanisms modifying the VDF, but neither is sufficient alone. For instance, flattop VDFs can be generated by nonlinear ion acoustic wave stochastic acceleration (i.e., inelastic collisions), while other work suggested they result from the combination of quasi-static and fluctuating fields. This three-part study shows that not only are these systems not thermodynamic in nature; even kinetic models may require modification to include things like inelastic collision operators to properly model electron VDF evolution across shocks or in the solar wind.
  • Moschou, Sofia-Paraskevi; Pierrard, Viviane; Keppens, Rony; Pomoell, Jens (2017)
    An exospheric kinetic solar wind model is interfaced with an observation-driven single-fluid magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) model. Initially, a photospheric magnetogram serves as observational input in the fluid approach to extrapolate the heliospheric magnetic field. Then semi-empirical coronal models are used for estimating the plasma characteristics up to a heliocentric distance of 0.1 AU. From there on, a full MHD model that computes the three-dimensional time-dependent evolution of the solar wind macroscopic variables up to the orbit of Earth is used. After interfacing the density and velocity at the inner MHD boundary, we compare our results with those of a kinetic exospheric solar wind model based on the assumption of Maxwell and Kappa velocity distribution functions for protons and electrons, respectively, as well as with in situ observations at 1 AU. This provides insight into more physically detailed processes, such as coronal heating and solar wind acceleration, which naturally arise from including suprathermal electrons in the model. We are interested in the profile of the solar wind speed and density at 1 AU, in characterizing the slow and fast source regions of the wind, and in comparing MHD with exospheric models in similar conditions. We calculate the energetics of both models from low to high heliocentric distances.
  • Zhou, Hongyang; Turc, Lucile; Pfau-Kempf, Yann; Battarbee, Markus; Tarvus, Vertti Aleksanteri; Dubart, Maxime; George, Harriet Elizabeth; Cozzani, Giulia; Grandin, Maxime; Ganse, Urs; Alho, Markku Juhani; Johlander, Erik Andreas; Suni, Jonas Emil; Bussov, Maarja; Papadakis, Konstantinos; Horaites, Konstantinos; Zaitsev, Ivan; Kebede, Fasil Tesema; Gordeev, Evgenii; Palmroth, Minna (2022)
    Ultra-low frequency (ULF) waves are routinely observed in Earth's dayside magnetosphere. Here we investigate the influence of externally-driven density variations in the near-Earth space in the ULF regime using global 2D simulations performed with the hybrid-Vlasov model Vlasiator. With the new time-varying boundary setup, we introduce a monochromatic Pc5 range periodic density variation in the solar wind. A breathing motion of the magnetopause and changes in the bow shock standoff position are caused by the density variation, the time lag between which is found to be consistent with propagation at fast magnetohydrodynamic speed. The oscillations also create large-scale stripes of variations in the magnetosheath and modulate the mirror and electromagnetic ion cyclotron modes. We characterize the spatial-temporal properties of ULF waves at different phases of the variation. Less prominent EMIC and mirror mode wave activities near the center of magnetosheath are observed with decreasing upstream Mach number. The EMIC wave occurrence is strongly related to pressure anisotropy and beta(||), both vary as a function of the upstream conditions, whereas the mirror mode occurrence is highly influenced by fast waves generated from upstream density variations.
  • Good, S. W.; Ala-Lahti, M.; Palmerio, E.; Kilpua, E. K. J.; Osmane, A. (2020)
    The sheaths of compressed solar wind that precede interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) commonly display large-amplitude magnetic field fluctuations. As ICMEs propagate radially from the Sun, the properties of these fluctuations may evolve significantly. We have analyzed magnetic field fluctuations in an ICME sheath observed by MESSENGER at 0.47 au and subsequently by STEREO-B at 1.08 au while the spacecraft were close to radial alignment. Radial changes in fluctuation amplitude, compressibility, inertial-range spectral slope, permutation entropy, Jensen-Shannon complexity, and planar structuring are characterized. These changes are discussed in relation to the evolving turbulent properties of the upstream solar wind, the shock bounding the front of the sheath changing from a quasi-parallel to quasi-perpendicular geometry, and the development of complex structures in the sheath plasma.
  • Manchester, Ward; Kilpua, Emilia Katja Johanna; Liu, Ying D.; Lugaz, Noe; Riley, Pete; Torok, Tibor; Vrsnak, Bojan (2017)
    As observed in Thomson-scattered white light, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are manifest as large-scale expulsions of plasma magnetically driven from the corona in the most energetic eruptions from the Sun. It remains a tantalizing mystery as to how these erupting magnetic fields evolve to form the complex structures we observe in the solar wind at Earth. Here, we strive to provide a fresh perspective on the post-eruption and interplanetary evolution of CMEs, focusing on the physical processes that define the many complex interactions of the ejected plasma with its surroundings as it departs the corona and propagates through the heliosphere. We summarize the ways CMEs and their interplanetary CMEs (ICMEs) are rotated, reconfigured, deformed, deflected, decelerated and disguised during their journey through the solar wind. This study then leads to consideration of how structures originating in coronal eruptions can be connected to their far removed interplanetary counterparts. Given that ICMEs are the drivers of most geomagnetic storms (and the sole driver of extreme storms), this work provides a guide to the processes that must be considered in making space weather forecasts from remote observations of the corona.