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Heavy ion reflection and heating by collisionless shocks in polar solar corona
Autori Autori: Zimbardo G.
Rivista Rivista: Planetary and Space Science
    Volume n°: 59 -ISSUE 7 Anno: 2011 Pag. iniziale: 468 Pag. finale: 474
Abstract Abstract: We propose a new model for explaining the observations of preferential heating of heavy ions in the polar solar corona. We consider that a large number of small scale shock waves can be present in the solar corona, as suggested by recent observations of polar coronal jets by the Hinode and STEREO spacecraft. The heavy ion energization mechanism is, essentially, the ion reflection off supercritical quasi-perpendicular collisionless shocks in the corona and the subsequent acceleration by the motional electric field E=-(1/c)V ×B. The acceleration due to E is perpendicular to the magnetic field, giving rise to large temperature anisotropy with T⊥≫T∥, which can excite ion cyclotron waves. Also, heating is more than mass proportional with respect to protons, because the heavy ion orbit is mostly upstream of the quasi-perpendicular shock foot. The observed temperature ratios between O5+ ions and protons in the polar corona, and between α particles and protons in the solar wind are easily recovered. We also discuss the mechanism of heavy ion reflection, which is based on ion gyration in the magnetic overshoot of the shock.