Strong Perpendicular Velocity-space Diffusion in Proton Beams Observed by Parker Solar Probe

J. L. Verniero, B. D.G. Chandran, D. E. Larson, K. Paulson, B. L. Alterman, S. Badman, S. D. Bale, J. W. Bonnell, T. A. Bowen, T. Dudok De Wit, J. C. Kasper, K. G. Klein, E. Lichko, R. Livi, M. D. McManus, A. Rahmati, D. Verscharen, J. Walters, P. L. Whittlesey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The SWEAP instrument suite on Parker Solar Probe (PSP) has detected numerous proton beams associated with coherent, circularly polarized, ion-scale waves observed by PSP's FIELDS instrument suite. Measurements during PSP Encounters 4-8 revealed pronounced complex shapes in the proton velocity distribution functions (VDFs), in which the tip of the beam undergoes strong perpendicular diffusion, resulting in VDF level contours that resemble a "hammerhead."We refer to these proton beams, with their attendant "hammerhead"features, as the ion strahl. We present an example of these observations occurring simultaneously with a 7 hr ion-scale wave storm and show results from a preliminary attempt at quantifying the occurrence of ion-strahl broadening through three-component ion VDF fitting. We also provide a possible explanation of the ion perpendicular scattering based on quasilinear theory and the resonant scattering of beam ions by parallel-propagating, right circularly polarized, fast magnetosonic/whistler waves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 10 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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