The Evolution and Role of Solar Wind Turbulence in the Inner Heliosphere

C. H.K. Chen, S. D. Bale, J. W. Bonnell, D. Borovikov, T. A. Bowen, D. Burgess, A. W. Case, B. D.G. Chandran, T. Dudok De Wit, K. Goetz, P. R. Harvey, J. C. Kasper, K. G. Klein, K. E. Korreck, D. Larson, R. Livi, R. J. MacDowall, D. M. Malaspina, A. Mallet, M. D. McManusM. Moncuquet, M. Pulupa, M. L. Stevens, P. Whittlesey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


The first two orbits of the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft have enabled the first in situ measurements of the solar wind down to a heliocentric distance of 0.17 au (or 36). Here, we present an analysis of this data to study solar wind turbulence at 0.17 au and its evolution out to 1 au. While many features remain similar, key differences at 0.17 au include increased turbulence energy levels by more than an order of magnitude, a magnetic field spectral index of -3/2 matching that of the velocity and both Elsasser fields, a lower magnetic compressibility consistent with a smaller slow-mode kinetic energy fraction, and a much smaller outer scale that has had time for substantial nonlinear processing. There is also an overall increase in the dominance of outward-propagating Alfvénic fluctuations compared to inward-propagating ones, and the radial variation of the inward component is consistent with its generation by reflection from the large-scale gradient in Alfvén speed. The energy flux in this turbulence at 0.17 au was found to be ∼10% of that in the bulk solar wind kinetic energy, becoming ∼40% when extrapolated to the Alfvén point, and both the fraction and rate of increase of this flux toward the Sun are consistent with turbulence-driven models in which the solar wind is powered by this flux.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number53
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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