Taylor Microscale and Effective Reynolds Number near the Sun from PSP

C. Phillips, R. Bandyopadhyay, D. J. McComas

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5 Scopus citations


The Taylor microscale is a fundamental length scale in turbulent fluids, representing the end of fluid properties and onset of dissipative processes. The Taylor microscale can also be used to evaluate the Reynolds number in classical turbulence theory. Although the solar wind is weakly collisional, it approximately behaves as a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) fluid at scales larger than the kinetic scale. As a result, classical fluid turbulence theory and formalisms are often used to study turbulence in the MHD range. Therefore, a Taylor microscale can be used to estimate an effective Reynolds number in the solar wind. NASA's Parker Solar Probe (PSP) has reached progressively closer to the Sun than any other spacecraft before. The collected data have revealed many new findings in the near-Sun solar wind. Here, we use the PSP data to estimate the Taylor microscale and effective Reynolds number near the Sun. We find that the Taylor microscale and Reynolds number are small compared to the corresponding near-Earth values, indicating a solar wind that has been less processed by turbulence, with very small-scale dissipative processes near the Sun.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number33
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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