Journal Article

The turbulent density spectrum in the solar wind plasma

Dastgeer Shaikh and G. P. Zank

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 402, issue 1, pages 362-370
Published in print February 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The turbulent density spectrum in the solar wind plasma

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The density fluctuation spectrum in the solar wind reveals a Kolmogorov-like scaling with a spectral slope of −5/3 in wavenumber space. The energy transfer process in the magnetized solar wind, characterized typically by magnetohydrodynamic turbulence, over extended length-scales remains an unresolved paradox of modern turbulence theories, raising the question of how a compressible magnetofluid exhibits a turbulent spectrum that is a characteristic of an incompressible hydrodynamic fluid. To address these questions, we have undertaken three-dimensional time-dependent numerical simulations of a compressible magnetohydrodynamic fluid describing super-Alfvénic, supersonic and strongly magnetized plasma fluid. It is shown that a Kolmogorov-like density spectrum can develop by plasma motions that are dominated by Alfvénic cascades whereas compressive modes are dissipated.

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

Journal Article.  7280 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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