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Journal Articles The Astrophysical journal letters Year : 2020

Tearing Instability and Periodic Density Perturbations in the Slow Solar Wind

Marco Velli
Anna Tenerani
Chen Shi
Antoine Strugarek

Abstract

In contrast with the fast solar wind, which originates in coronal holes, the source of the slow solar wind is still debated. Often intermittent and enriched with low first ionization potential elements—akin to what is observed in closed coronal loops—the slow wind could form in bursty events nearby helmet streamers. Slow winds also exhibit density perturbations that have been shown to be periodic and could be associated with flux ropes ejected from the tip of helmet streamers, as shown recently by the WISPR white-light imager on board Parker Solar Probe (PSP). In this work, we propose that the main mechanism controlling the release of flux ropes is a flow-modified tearing mode at the heliospheric current sheet (HCS). We use magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the solar wind and corona to reproduce realistic configurations and outflows surrounding the HCS. We find that this process is able to explain long (∼10-20 hr) and short (∼1-2 hr) timescales of density structures observed in the slow solar wind. This study also sheds new light on the structure, topology, and composition of the slow solar wind, and could be, in the near future, compared with white light and in situ PSP observations.

Dates and versions

insu-03673151 , version 1 (19-05-2022)

Identifiers

Cite

Victor Réville, Marco Velli, Alexis P. Rouillard, Benoit Lavraud, Anna Tenerani, et al.. Tearing Instability and Periodic Density Perturbations in the Slow Solar Wind. The Astrophysical journal letters, 2020, 895, ⟨10.3847/2041-8213/ab911d⟩. ⟨insu-03673151⟩
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