Solar Spicules, Filigrees, and Solar Wind Switchbacks

Jeongwoo Lee, Haimin Wang, Jiasheng Wang, Meiqi Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spicules, the smallest observable jetlike dynamic features ubiquitous in the chromosphere, are supposedly an important potential source for small-scale solar wind transients, with supporting evidence yet needed. We studied the high-resolution Hα images (0.″10) and magnetograms (0.″29) from the Big Bear Solar Observatory to find that spicules are an ideal candidate for the solar wind magnetic switchbacks detected by the Parker Solar Probe (PSP). It is not that spicules are a miniature of coronal jets, but that they have unique properties not found in other solar candidates in explaining solar origin of switchbacks. (1) The spicules under this study originate from filigrees, all in a single magnetic polarity. Since filigrees are known as footpoints of open fields, the spicule guiding field lines can form a unipolar funnel, which is needed to create an SB patch, a group of field lines that switch from one common base polarity to the other polarity. (2) The spicules come in a cluster lined up along a supergranulation boundary, and the simulated waiting times from their spatial intervals exhibit a number distribution continuously decreasing from a few seconds to ∼30 minutes, similar to that of switchbacks. (3) From a time-distance map for spicules, we estimate their occurrence rate as 0.55 spicules Mm−2 s−1, which is sufficiently high for detection by PSP. In addition, the dissimilarity of spicules with coronal jets, including the absence of base brightening and low correlation with EUV emission, is briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number79
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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