A kinetic alfvén wave and the proton distribution function in the fast solar wind

Authors Organisations
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L190-L193
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2010
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Using one-dimensional test particle simulations, the effect of a kinetic Alfvén wave on the velocity distribution function (VDF) of protons in the collisionless solar wind is investigated. We first use linear Vlasov theory to numerically obtain the property of a kinetic Alfvén wave (the wave propagates in the direction almost perpendicular to the background magnetic field). We then numerically simulate how the wave will shape the proton VDF. It is found that Landau resonance may be able to generate two components in the initially Maxwellian proton VDF: a tenuous beam component along the direction of the background magnetic field and a core component. The streaming speed of the beam relative to the core proton component is about 1.2?1.3 Alfvén speed.


  • solar wind, waves