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Title: THERMALIZATION OF HEAVY IONS IN THE SOLAR WIND

Observations of velocity distribution functions from the Advanced Composition Explorer/Solar Wind Ion Composition Spectrometer heavy ion composition instrument are used to calculate ratios of kinetic temperature and Coulomb collisional interactions of an unprecedented 50 ion species in the solar wind. These ions cover a mass per charge range of 1–5.5 amu/e and were collected in the time range of 1998–2011. We report the first calculation of the Coulomb thermalization rate between each of the heavy ion (A > 4 amu) species present in the solar wind along with protons (H{sup +}) and alpha particles (He{sup 2+}). From these rates, we find that protons are the dominant source of Coulomb collisional thermalization for heavy ions in the solar wind and use this fact to calculate a collisional age for those heavy ion populations. The heavy ion thermal properties are well organized by this collisional age, but we find that the temperature of all heavy ions does not simply approach that of protons as Coulomb collisions become more important. We show that He{sup 2+} and C{sup 6+} follow a monotonic decay toward equal temperatures with protons with increasing collisional age, but O{sup 6+} shows a noted deviation from this monotonic decay. Furthermore,more » we show that the deviation from monotonic decay for O{sup 6+} occurs in solar wind of all origins, as determined by its Fe/O ratio. The observed differences in heavy ion temperature behavior point toward a local heating mechanism that favors ions depending on their charge and mass.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518738
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 812; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ALPHA PARTICLES; DISTRIBUTION FUNCTIONS; HEAVY IONS; HELIOSPHERE; HELIUM IONS; HYDROGEN IONS 1 PLUS; MASS; MULTICHARGED IONS; OXYGEN IONS; PLASMA; SOLAR WIND; SUN; THERMALIZATION; THERMODYNAMIC PROPERTIES