Kinetic scale density fluctuations in the solar wind

C. H.K. Chen, G. G. Howes, J. W. Bonnell, F. S. Mozer, K. G. Klein, S. D. Bale

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

21 Scopus citations


We motivate the importance of studying kinetic scale turbulence for understanding the macroscopic properties of the heliosphere, such as the heating of the solar wind. We then discuss the technique by which kinetic scale density fluctuations can be measured using the spacecraft potential, including a calculation of the timescale for the spacecraft potential to react to the density changes. Finally, we compare the shape of the density spectrum at ion scales to theoretical predictions based on a cascade model for kinetic turbulence. We conclude that the shape of the spectrum, including the ion scale flattening, can be captured by the sum of passive density fluctuations at large scales and kinetic Alfvén wave turbulence at small scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSolar Wind 2012 - Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Solar Wind Conference
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2013
Event13th International Solar Wind Conference, Solar Wind 2012 - Big Island, HI, United States
Duration: Jun 17 2012Jun 22 2012

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Conference13th International Solar Wind Conference, Solar Wind 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBig Island, HI


  • heating
  • heliosphere
  • plasmas
  • solar wind
  • spacecraft charging
  • turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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