Instability-Driven Limits on Ion Temperature Anisotropy in the Solar Wind: Observations and Linear Vlasov Theory

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Instability-Driven Limits on Ion Temperature Anisotropy in the Solar Wind: Observations and Linear Vlasov Theory

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Title: Instability-Driven Limits on Ion Temperature Anisotropy in the Solar Wind: Observations and Linear Vlasov Theory
Author: Maruca, Bennett Andrew
Citation: Maruca, Bennett Andrew. 2012. Instability-Driven Limits on Ion Temperature Anisotropy in the Solar Wind: Observations and Linear Vlasov Theory. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: Kinetic microinstabilities in the solar wind arise when its non-thermal properties become too extreme. This thesis project focused specifically on the four instabilities associated with ion temperature anisotropy: the cyclotron, mirror, and parallel and oblique firehose instabilities. Numerous studies have provided evidence that proton temperature anisotropy in the solar wind is limited by the actions of these instabilities. For this project, a fully revised analysis of data from the Wind spacecraft's Faraday cups and calculations from linear Vlasov theory were used to extend these findings in two respects. First, theoretical thresholds were derived for the \(\alpha\)-particle temperature anisotropy instabilities, which were then found to be consistent with a statistical analysis of Wind \(\alpha\)-particle data. This suggests that \(\alpha\)-particles, which constitute only about 5% of ions in the solar wind, are nevertheless able to drive temperature anisotropy instabilities. Second, a statistical analysis of Wind proton data found that proton temperature was significantly enhanced in plasma unstable due to proton temperature anisotropy. This implies that extreme proton temperature anisotropies in solar wind at 1 AU arise from ongoing anisotropic heating (versus cooling from, e.g., CGL double adiabatic expansion). Together, these results provide further insight into the complex evolution of the solar wind's non-fluid properties.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:9547903
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