Volume 627, July 2019
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Published online||04 July 2019|
The low-frequency break observed in the slow solar wind magnetic spectra⋆
National Institute for Astrophysics, Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology, Via del Fosso del Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, Italy
2 National Institute for Astrophysics, Astrophysical Observatory of Torino, Via Osservatorio 20, 10025 Pino Torinese, Italy
3 Departamento de Física, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Quito, Ecuador
4 Nanotec/Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, ponte P. Bucci, cubo 31C, 87036 Rende (CS), Italy
5 Laboratoire de Mécanique des Fluides et d’Acoustique, CNRS, École Centrale de Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, INSA de Lyon, 69134 Écully, France
Accepted: 27 May 2019
Fluctuations of solar wind magnetic field and plasma parameters exhibit a typical turbulence power spectrum with a spectral index ranging between ∼5/3 and ∼3/2. In particular, at 1 AU, the magnetic field spectrum, observed within fast corotating streams, also shows a clear steepening for frequencies higher than the typical proton scales, of the order of ∼3 × 10−1 Hz, and a flattening towards 1/f at frequencies lower than ∼10−3 Hz. However, the current literature reports observations of the low-frequency break only for fast streams. Slow streams, as observed to date, have not shown a clear break, and this has commonly been attributed to slow wind intervals not being long enough. Actually, because of the longer transit time from the Sun, slow wind turbulence would be older and the frequency break would be shifted to lower frequencies with respect to fast wind. Based on this hypothesis, we performed a careful search for long-lasting slow wind intervals throughout 12 years of Wind satellite measurements. Our search, based on stringent requirements not only on wind speed but also on the level of magnetic compressibility and Alfvénicity of the turbulent fluctuations, yielded 48 slow wind streams lasting longer than 7 days. This result allowed us to extend our study to frequencies sufficiently low and, for the first time in the literature, we are able to show that the 1/f magnetic spectral scaling is also present in the slow solar wind, provided the interval is long enough. However, this is not the case for the slow wind velocity spectrum, which keeps the typical Kolmogorov scaling throughout the analysed frequency range. After ruling out the possible role of compressibility and Alfvénicity for the 1/f scaling, a possible explanation in terms of magnetic amplitude saturation, as recently proposed in the literature, is suggested.
Key words: solar wind / Sun: heliosphere / turbulence / waves / magnetic fields / plasmas
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© ESO 2019
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