AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 46 Plasma Astrophysics of Coronae: Solar, Stellar and Accretion Disk
Topical Session, Tuesday, June 1, 2004, 2:30-4:00pm, 4:15-6:00pm, 710/712

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[46.01] Solar Wind Mircrophysics: How It Helps Us Understand Coronal Heating

S. P. Gary (Los Alamos National Laboratory)

Observations of the solar corona are primarily obtained by remote sensing measurements, which yield a limited amount of information about plasma conditions near the Sun. In contrast, many spacecraft make in situ measurements of the solar wind, providing a rich source of information about plasma and magnetic field conditions in that medium, especially near 1 AU. Although their characteristic parameters are very different, the corona and the solar wind are both approximately collisionless plasmas, so that the plasma processes which heat the corona should also assert themselves in the solar wind. Thus by studying the latter medium, we gain insight into the physics of the former regime. To be specific, we will present theoretical arguments and observational evidence that Alfvén-cyclotron fluctuations can, at times, heat alpha particles in the solar wind. We will then use these results to draw conclusions about how such fluctuations may heat heavy ions in the corona.

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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: pgary@lanl.gov

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