Solar wind magnetic fluctuations exhibit anisotropy due to the presence of a mean magnetic field in the form of the Parker spiral. Close to the Sun, direct measurements were not available until the recently launched Parker Solar Probe (PSP) mission. The nature of the anisotropy and geometry of the magnetic fluctuations play a fundamental role in dissipation processes and in the transport of energetic particles in space. Using PSP data, we present measurements of the geometry and anisotropy of the inner heliosphere magnetic fluctuations, from fluid to kinetic scales. The results are surprising and different from 1 au observations. We find that fluctuations evolve characteristically with size scale. However, unlike 1 au solar wind, at the outer scale, the fluctuations are dominated by wavevectors quasi-parallel to the local magnetic field. In the inertial range, average wavevectors become less field aligned, but still remain more field aligned than near-Earth solar wind. In the dissipation range, the wavevectors become almost perpendicular to the local magnetic field in the dissipation range, to a much higher degree than those indicated by 1 au observations. We propose that this reduced degree of anisotropy in the outer scale and inertial range is due to the nature of large-scale forcing outside the solar corona.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science