Solar wind density turbulence and solar flare electron transport from the Sun to the Earth

Reid, H.A.S. and Kontar, E.P. (2010) Solar wind density turbulence and solar flare electron transport from the Sun to the Earth. Astrophysical Journal, 721(1), pp. 864-874. (doi:10.1088/0004-637X/721/1/864)

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Abstract

Solar flare accelerated electron beams propagating away from the Sun can interact with the turbulent interplanetary media, producing plasma waves and Type III radio emission. These electron beams are detected near the Earth with a double power-law energy spectrum. We simulate electron beam propagation from the Sun to the Earth in the weak turbulent regime taking into account the self-consistent generation of plasma waves and subsequent wave interaction with density fluctuations from low-frequency MHD turbulence. The rate at which plasma waves are induced by an unstable electron beam is reduced by background density fluctuations, most acutely when fluctuations have large amplitudes or small wavelengths. This suppression of plasma waves alters the wave distribution which changes the electron beam transport. Assuming a 5/3 Kolmogorov-type power-density spectrum of fluctuations often observed near the Earth, we investigate the corresponding energy spectrum of the electron beam after it has propagated 1 AU. We find a direct correlation between the spectrum of the double power-law below the break energy and the turbulent intensity of the background plasma. For an initial spectral index of 3.5, we find a range of spectra below the break energy between 1.6 and 2.1, with higher levels of turbulence corresponding to higher spectral indices.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kontar, Dr Eduard and Reid, Dr Hamish
Authors: Reid, H.A.S., and Kontar, E.P.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Astrophysical Journal
ISSN:0004-637X
ISSN (Online):1538-4357
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
465931Solar, stellar and cosmological plasmas: a synthesis of data, modelling and theory.Declan DiverScience & Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)ST/F002149/1Physics and Astronomy
398461Acceleration, propagation and emission of energetic particles from the sun to the earthEduard KontarParticle Physics & Astronomy Research Council (PPARC)PP/C001656/1Physics and Astronomy