An analytical model of turbulence in Parker spiral geometry and associated magnetic field line lengths

Laitinen, Timo Lauri mikael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7719-7783, Dalla, Silvia orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7837-5780, Waterfall, Charlotte and Hutchinson, Adam (2023) An analytical model of turbulence in Parker spiral geometry and associated magnetic field line lengths. Astrophysical Journal, 943 (2). ISSN 0004-637X

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Understanding the magnetic connections from the Sun to interplanetary space is crucial for linking in situ particle observations with the solar source regions of the particles. A simple connection along the large-scale Parker spiral magnetic field is made complex by the turbulent random-walk of field lines. In this paper, we present the first analytical model of heliospheric magnetic fields where the dominant 2D component of the turbulence is transverse to the Parker spiral. The 2D wave field is supplemented with a minor wave field component that has asymptotically slab geometry at small and large heliocentric distances. We show that turbulence spreads field lines from a small source region at the Sun to a 60$^\circ$ heliolongitudinal and -latitudinal range at 1~au, with standard deviation of the angular spread of the field lines $14^\circ$. Small source regions map to an intermittent range of longitudes and latitudes at 1~au, consistent with dropouts in solar energetic particle intensities. The lengths of the field lines are significantly extended from the nominal Parker spiral length of 1.17~au up to 1.6~au, with field lines from sources at and behind the west limb considerably longer than those closer to the solar disk centre. We discuss the implications of our findings on understanding charged particle propagation, and the importance of understanding the turbulence properties close to the Sun.

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