About this Research Topic
Small-scale coherent magnetic structures in the solar wind have drawn considerable interest in recent years. These structures include magnetic flux ropes, vortices, and current sheets, etc. Recent advances in the field include the development of new data analysis techniques that enable detection of structures throughout the heliosphere, leading to a more complete understanding of the statistical properties. Theoretical work and numerical modeling have explored the generation and consequences of structures. The recent Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter missions observe small-scale structures by both in-situ measurements and white light images. Moreover, small local particle energization events are found to be common close to the Sun and are not easily explained by traditional acceleration mechanisms such as solar flares and shocks. Turbulent reconnection and stochastic acceleration due to coherent magnetic structures are among possible explanations.
Some of the outstanding questions regarding small-scale coherent magnetic structures are as follows: (1) What is their origin? Do they originate from the solar corona or are they generated locally via turbulent cascade or magnetic reconnection? (2) Do they play an important role in the dynamics of solar wind, such as in the heating and acceleration? (3) What is their role in the energization and transport of nonthermal and energetic particles? The resolution of these questions will require more efforts from both observers and theorists. Missions such as Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter are very valuable as they allow us to look into the radial evolution of structures and related properties of turbulence and particle energization close to the Sun. Theories and modeling are crucial to understanding the nature of structures and the dynamical roles they play in the solar wind.
This Research Topic welcomes theoretical and experimental contributions addressing at least one of the following themes:
(1) Observational analysis of coherent magnetic structures, and the related analysis of solar wind source, turbulence and particle energization. The data include but not limited to in-situ plasma and electromagnetic fields, energetic particles, and images.
(2) Development of new data analysis techniques for observations or simulations.
(3) Theories and modeling on the generation and evolution of structures, and their dynamical roles in the solar wind. Research that focuses on local particle energization mechanisms is also welcome.
(4) Possible connection between structures and switchbacks, magnetic reconnection, and turbulence.
We welcome submissions of original research, review, and other types of articles.
Keywords: coherent structures; solar wind turbulence; particle energization; magnetic flux ropes; magnetic islands
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.