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Are switchbacks signatures of magnetic flux ropes generated by interchange reconnection in the corona?

  • Drake, JF
  • Agapitov, O
  • Swisdak, M
  • Badman, ST
  • Bale, SD
  • Horbury, TS
  • Kasper, JC
  • MacDowall, RJ
  • Mozer, FS
  • Phan, TD
  • Pulupa, M
  • Szabo, A
  • Velli, M
Publication Date
Oct 06, 2020
UPCommons. Portal del coneixement obert de la UPC


The structure of magnetic flux ropes injected into the solar wind during reconnection in the coronal atmosphere is explored with particle-in-cell simulations and compared with {\it in situ} measurements of magnetic "switchbacks" from the Parker Solar Probe. We suggest that multi-x-line reconnection between open and closed flux in the corona will inject flux ropes into the solar wind and that these flux ropes can convect outward over long distances before disintegrating. Simulations that explore the magnetic structure of flux ropes in the solar wind reproduce key features of the "switchback" observations: a rapid rotation of the radial magnetic field into the transverse direction (a consequence of reconnection with a strong guide field); and the potential to reverse the radial field component. The potential implication of the injection of large numbers of flux ropes in the coronal atmosphere for understanding the generation of the solar wind is discussed.

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