The k-filtering technique and wave polarization analysis are applied to Cluster magnetic field data to study plasma turbulence at the scale of the ion gyroradius in the fast solar wind. Waves are found propagating in directions nearly perpendicular to the background magnetic field at such scales. The frequencies of these waves in the solar wind frame are much smaller than the proton gyro-frequency. After the wave vector k is determined at each spacecraft frequency fsc, wave polarization property is analyzed in the plane perpendicular to k. Magnetic fluctuations have δB⊥ > δB∥ (here the ∥ and ⊥ refer to the background magnetic field B0). The wave magnetic field has right-handed polarization at propagation angles θkB < 90◦ and > 90◦. The magnetic field in the plane perpendicular to B0 however has no clear sense of a dominant polarization but local rotations. We discuss the merits and limitations of linear kinetic Aflv´en waves (KAWs) and coherent Alfv´en vortices in the interpretation of the data. We suggest that the fast solar wind turbulence may be populated with KAWs, small scale current sheets and Alfv´en vortices at ion kinetic scales.
|Number of pages||8|
|Early online date||06 May 2013|
|Publication status||Published - 20 May 2013|
- solar wind