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Empirical Constraints on Proton and Electron Heating in the Fast Solar Wind View all abstracts by submitter

Steven R Cranmer   Submitted: 2009-07-16 05:14

We analyze measured proton and electron temperatures in the high-speed solar wind in order to calculate the separate rates of heat deposition for protons and electrons. When comparing with other regions of the heliosphere, the fast solar wind has the lowest density and the least frequent Coulomb collisions. This makes the fast wind an optimal testing ground for studies of collisionless kinetic processes associated with the dissipation of plasma turbulence. Data from the Helios and Ulysses plasma instruments were collected to determine mean radial trends in the temperatures and the electron heat conduction flux between 0.29 and 5.4 AU. The derived heating rates apply specifically for these mean plasma properties and not for the full range of measured values around the mean. We found that the protons receive about 60% of the total plasma heating in the inner heliosphere, and that this fraction increases to approximately 80% by the orbit of Jupiter. A major factor affecting the uncertainty in this fraction is the uncertainty in the measured radial gradient of the electron heat conduction flux. The empirically derived partitioning of heat between protons and electrons is in rough agreement with theoretical predictions from a model of linear Vlasov wave damping. For a modeled power spectrum consisting only of Alfvénic fluctuations, the best agreement was found for a distribution of wavenumber vectors that evolves toward isotropy as distance increases.

Authors: Cranmer, S. R., Matthaeus, W. H., Breech, B. A., and Kasper, J. C.
Projects: None

Publication Status: ApJ, in press, arXiv:0907.2650
Last Modified: 2009-07-16 08:34
Go to main E-Print page  Solar source of energetic particles in interplanetary space during the 2006 December 13 event  Characteristic Dependence of Umbral Dots on their Magnetic Structure  Edit Entry  Download Preprint  Submitter's Homepage Delete Entry 

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