Journal Article

Whistler wave cascades in solar wind plasma

Dastgeer Shaikh

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 395, issue 4, pages 2292-2298
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Whistler wave cascades in solar wind plasma

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Non-linear, three-dimensional, time-dependent fluid simulations of whistler wave turbulence are performed to investigate role of whistler waves in solar wind plasma turbulence in which characteristic turbulent fluctuations are characterized typically by the frequency and length-scales that are, respectively, bigger than ion gyrofrequency and smaller than ion gyroradius. The electron inertial length is an intrinsic length-scale in whistler wave turbulence that distinguishably divides the high-frequency solar wind turbulent spectra into scales smaller and bigger than the electron inertial length. Our simulations find that the dispersive whistler modes evolve entirely differently in the two regimes. While the dispersive whistler wave effects are stronger in the large-scale regime, they do not influence the spectral cascades which are describable by a Kolmogorov-like k−7/3 spectrum. By contrast, the small-scale turbulent fluctuations exhibit a Navier–Stokes-like evolution where characteristic turbulent eddies exhibit a typical k−5/3 hydrodynamic turbulent spectrum. By virtue of equipartition between the wave velocity and magnetic fields, we quantify the role of whistler waves in the solar wind plasma fluctuations.

Keywords: MHD; Sun: magnetic fields; solar wind; ISM: magnetic fields

Journal Article.  5090 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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