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Christopher Chen (Queen Mary University , London): Turbulence and Heating in the Solar Wind

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The solar wind displays complex broadband fluctuations which are generally interpreted as a turbulent cascade of energy from large driving scales, down to small kinetic scales, where the plasma is heated. In recent years, we have made much progress in understanding this process from large datasets of high resolution in situ spacecraft measurements. In this talk I will begin by briefly discussing some of the key measurements and theoretical understanding of solar wind turbulence achieved so far. I will then present some recent work on turbulence in the magnetosheath (the region of solar wind downstream of the Earth's bow shock) using high resolution data from the MMS spacecraft. This includes the identification of a new type of turbulence due to the specific parameter regime of the magnetosheath, and the application of a field-particle correlation technique to measure the energy transfer from the turbulence to the plasma particles. This technique allows for the identification of the physical mechanisms responsible for turbulent heating, which is one of the key unsolved problems in space plasma physics. I will finish by describing briefly the Parker Solar Probe mission and how it will help us understand turbulence and heating near the Sun.

Tags: CFSA Seminar

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