Three-dimensional density and compressible magnetic structure in solar wind turbulence

Owen Roberts*, Yasuhito Narita, C. Philippe Escoubet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (SciVal)
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The three-dimensional structure of both compressible and incompressible components of turbulence is investigated at proton characteristic scales in the solar wind. Measurements of the three-dimensional structure are typically difficult, since the majority of measurements are performed by a single spacecraft. However, the Cluster mission consisting of four spacecraft in a tetrahedral formation allows for a fully three-dimensional investigation of turbulence. Incompressible turbulence is investigated by using the three vector components of the magnetic field. Meanwhile compressible turbulence is investigated by considering the magnitude of the magnetic field as a proxy for the compressible fluctuations and electron density data deduced from spacecraft potential. Application of the multi-point signal resonator technique to intervals of fast and slow wind shows that both compressible and incompressible turbulence are anisotropic with respect to the mean magnetic field direction and are sensitive to the value of the plasma beta (ratio of thermal to magnetic pressure) and the wind type. Moreover, the incompressible fluctuations of the fast and slow solar wind are revealed to be different with enhancements along the background magnetic field direction present in the fast wind intervals. The differences in the fast and slow wind and the implications for the presence of different wave modes in the plasma are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-539
Number of pages13
JournalAnnales Geophysicae
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


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