The Enhancement of Proton Stochastic Heating in the Near-Sun Solar Wind

Academic Article


  • Stochastic heating is a non-linear heating mechanism driven by the violation of magnetic moment invariance due to large-amplitude turbulent fluctuations producing diffusion of ions towards higher kinetic energies in the direction perpendicular to the magnetic field. It is frequently invoked as a mechanism responsible for the heating of ions in the solar wind. Here, we quantify for the first time the proton stochastic heating rate $Q_\perp$ at radial distances from the Sun as close as $0.16$ au, using measurements from the first two Parker Solar Probe encounters. Our results for both the amplitude and radial trend of the heating rate, $Q_\perp \propto r^{-2.5}$, agree with previous results based on the Helios data set at heliocentric distances from 0.3 to 0.9 au. Also in agreement with previous results, $Q_\perp$ is significantly larger in the fast solar wind than in the slow solar wind. We identify the tendency in fast solar wind for cuts of the core proton velocity distribution transverse to the magnetic field to exhibit a flat-top shape. The observed distribution agrees with previous theoretical predictions for fast solar wind where stochastic heating is the dominant heating mechanism.
  • Authors

  • Martinovic, Mihailo M
  • Klein, Kristopher G
  • Kasper, Justin C
  • Case, Anthony W
  • Korreck, Kelly E
  • Larson, Davin
  • Livi, Roberto
  • Stevens, Michael
  • Whittlesey, Phyllis
  • Chandran, Benjamin
  • Alterman, Ben L
  • Huang, Jia
  • Chen, Christopher HK
  • Bale, Stuart D
  • Pulupa, Marc
  • Malaspina, David M
  • Bonnell, John W
  • Harvey, Peter R
  • Goetz, Keith
  • de Wit, Thierry Dudok
  • MacDowall, Robert J
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • February 2020
  • Has Subject Area


  • astro-ph.SR
  • physics.plasm-ph
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 30
  • End Page

  • 30
  • Volume

  • 246
  • Issue

  • 2