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Dipartimento di Fisica

Evidence for inhomogeneous heating in the solar wind
Autori Autori: Osman K.T. , Matthaeus H.M. , Greco A.,S ervidio S.
Rivista Rivista: The Astrophysical Journal Letters
     Anno: 2011
Abstract Abstract: Solar wind observations and magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations are used to probe the nature of turbulence heating. In particular, the electron heat flux, electron temperature, and ion temperature in the solar wind are studied using ACE and Wind data. These heating diagnostics are also compared with MHD simulation estimates of the local dissipation density. Coherent structures, which are sources of inhomogeneity and intermittency in MHD turbulence, are found to be associated with enhancements in every heating-related diagnostic. This supports the hypothesis that significant inhomogeneous heating occurs in the solar wind, connected with current sheets that are dynamically generated by MHD turbulence. Indeed, a subset of these coherent current sheets might be candidates for magnetic reconnection. However, the specific kinetic mechanisms that heat and accelerate particles within these structures require further study.