Finding the source of ion beams in the solar wind

2013-08-15T18:27:13Z (GMT) by Hanna Kristensen

Observations of the solar wind proton velocity distribution using the Wind faraday cups were studied during inside of and near previously published magnetic reconnection exhausts. We have attempted to test the hypothesis that interpenetrating ion beams in the solar wind can be driven by the reconnection process. The beam and core within the solar wind were fit as two bi-Maxwellian distributions and their velocities compared to Alfvén wave velocity and inflow speed. The differential flow between the beam and the core was found to be mostly in the range of Alfvénic to super Alfvénic instead of reflecting the inflow speed. Further analysis revealed that these beam configurations are frequently unstable and excite parallel-propagating plasma modes. This research was supported by the NSF grant for the Solar Physics REU Program at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (AGS-1263241).