Proton Temperature Anisotropy Variations in Inner Heliosphere Estimated with the First Parker Solar Probe Observations

Jia Huang, J. C. Kasper, J. C. Kasper, D. Vech, D. Vech, K. G. Klein, M. Stevens, Mihailo M. Martinović, Mihailo M. Martinović, B. L. Alterman, B. L. Alterman, Tereza Ďurovcová, Kristoff Paulson, Bennett A. Maruca, Bennett A. Maruca, Ramiz A. Qudsi, A. W. Case, K. E. Korreck, Lan K. Jian, Marco VelliB. Lavraud, A. Hegedus, C. M. Bert, J. Holmes, Stuart D. Bale, Stuart D. Bale, Stuart D. Bale, Stuart D. Bale, Davin E. Larson, Roberto Livi, P. Whittlesey, Marc Pulupa, Robert J. MacDowall, David M. Malaspina, David M. Malaspina, John W. Bonnell, Peter Harvey, Keith Goetz, Thierry Dudok De Wit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


We present a technique for deriving the temperature anisotropy of solar wind protons observed by the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) mission in the near-Sun solar wind. The radial proton temperature measured by the Solar Wind Electrons, Alphas, and Protons (SWEAP) Solar Probe Cup is compared with the orientation of local magnetic field measured by the FIELDS fluxgate magnetometer, and the proton temperatures parallel and perpendicular to the magnetic field are extracted. This procedure is applied to different data products, and the results are compared and optimum timescales for data selection and trends in the uncertainty in the method are identified. We find that the moment-based proton temperature anisotropy is more physically consistent with the expected limits of the mirror and firehose instabilities, possibly because the nonlinear fits do not capture a significant non-Maxwellian shape to the proton velocity distribution function near the Sun. The proton beam has a small effect on total proton temperature anisotropy owing to its much smaller density relative to the core compared to what was seen by previous spacecraft farther from the Sun. Several radial trends in the temperature components and the variation of the anisotropy with parallel plasma beta are presented. Our results suggest that we may see stronger anisotropic heating as PSP moves closer to the Sun, and that a careful treatment of the shape of the proton distribution may be needed to correctly describe the temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number70
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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