The small amplitude of density turbulence in the inner solar wind
- University of Iowa, USA
Abstract. Very Long Baseline Interferometer (VLBI) observations were made of radio sources close to the Sun, whose lines of sight pass through the inner solar wind (impact parameters 16-26 RE). Power spectra were analyzed of the interferometer phase fluctuations due to the solar wind plasma. These power spectra provide information on the level of plasma density fluctuations on spatial scales of roughly one hundred to several thousand kilometers. By specifying an outer scale to the turbulence spectrum, we can estimate the root-mean-square (rms) amplitude of the density fluctuations. The data indicate that the rms fluctuation in density is only about 10% of the mean density. This value is low, and consistent with extrapolated estimates from more distant parts of the solar wind. Physical speculations based on this result are presented.