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LWS TR&T Focus Teams:

Mechanism for solar wind heating and acceleration

Team Chair: Mari-Paz Miralles
Next Team Meeting: June 9, 2008 at the CfA, Cambridge, MA.
Team-Maintained Web Site:
Team Publications:
Team Members:

  • Bhattacharjee, Amitava
  • Landi, Enrico
  • Markovskii, Sergei

Target description: The solar wind creates the heliosphere, and determines our
space environment from the low corona, past the planetary magnetospheres, to the
solar wind termination shock and the boundary with interstellar space. In spite of
its importance as the medium of the Sun-Earth connection, its origins as either
"fast" or "slow" wind remain unclear. The heating of the ions perpendicular to
the magnetic field and the preferential heating of the heavy ions are important
clues to the origin of the fast wind, but specific heating/acceleration mechanisms
have not yet identified.

Goals and measures of success: The goal of this topic is to combine theoretical
studies, numerical simulations, and in situ or remote observations to understand
how the fast and slow solar wind are heated and accelerated. The measure of
success, and the criterion for proposal selection, is the potential impact of the
work on our understanding of the solar wind, including both the fast and the slow
wind, and a possible relation between them.

Types of solicited investigations: Proposals may be based on theoretical
investigations of specific acceleration mechanisms, modeling the effects of
specific mechanisms on the solar wind flow, or observations pertaining to the
identification of the operative mechanisms. Acceleration mechanisms may
include wave-particle interactions, turbulent heating, magnetic mirroring, and the
consequences of magnetic reconnection at or above the coronal base (e.g.
enhanced heating or reconnection-driven plasma jets). Models might include
solar wind flows with specified physical heating mechanisms and appropriate
magnetic field configurations. Relevant observations include ion and electron
distribution functions, and their density, speed and temperature moments, ion
composition, average magnetic field, magnetic field and plasma fluctuation
spectra, and remote sensing of plasma properties in the corona.

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