Compressible MHD turbulence studied in high-beta plasmas

In March, the Big Red Ball at WiPPL was operated for an investigation of compressible MHD turbulence proposed by a collaboration of Swarthmore College professor Mike Brown, Swarthmore undergraduate student Emma Suen-Lewis, and Bryn Mawr College professor David Schaffner. They proposed to measure the correlations between density and magnetic field fluctuations to distinguish between fast and slow waves in turbulent, high-beta magnetized plasmas. Suen-Lewis and Schaffner visited WiPPL to oversee the initial plasma run days. UW-Madison graduate students Doug Endrizzi and Ethan Peterson operated an array of biased plasma guns with a background axial magnetic field in order to create the experimental flux-rope plasmas, an example of which is seen in the video below. Endrizzi also designed, built, and operated a novel combination Langmuir and magnetic fluctuation probe to carry out the correlation measurements. Suen-Lewis is analyzing the experimental data for an undergraduate thesis at Swarthmore.