Tuesday, July 16, 2013

1307.3789 (Sofiane Bourouaine et al.)

Observational Test of Stochastic Heating in Low-$β$ Fast Solar Wind Streams    [PDF]

Sofiane Bourouaine, Benjamin D. G. Chandran
Spacecraft measurements show that protons undergo substantial perpendicular heating during their transit from the Sun to the outer heliosphere. In this paper, we use {\em Helios~2} measurements to investigate whether stochastic heating by low-frequency turbulence is capable of explaining this perpendicular heating. We analyze {\em Helios~2} magnetic-field measurements in low-$\beta$ fast-solar-wind streams between heliocentric distances $r=0.29$ AU and $r=0.64$ AU to determine the rms amplitude of the fluctuating magnetic field, $\delta B_{\rm p}$, near the proton gyroradius scale $\rho_{\rm p}$. We then evaluate the stochastic heating rate $Q_{\perp \rm stoch}$ using the measured value of $\delta B_{\rm p}$ and a previously published analytical formula for $Q_{\perp \rm stoch}$. Using {\em Helios} measurements we estimate the `empirical' perpendicular heating rate $Q_{\perp \rm emp} = (k_{\rm B}/m_{\rm p}) B V (d/dr) (T_{\perp \rm p}/B)$ that is needed to explain the $T_{\perp \rm p}$ profile. We find that $Q_{\perp \rm stoch} \sim Q_{\perp \rm emp}$, but only if a key dimensionless constant appearing in the formula for $Q_{\perp \rm stoch}$ lies within a certain range of values. This range is approximately the same throughout the radial interval that we analyze and is consistent with the results of numerical simulations of the stochastic heating of test particles in reduced magnetohydrodynamic turbulence. These results support the hypothesis that stochastic heating accounts for much of the perpendicular proton heating occurring in low-$\beta$ fast-wind streams.
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1307.3789

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