Modeling Interactions of Narrowband Large Amplitude Whistler-mode Waves with Electrons in the Solar Wind inside ∼0.3 au and at 1 au Using a Particle Tracing Code

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Abstract

The discovery of large amplitude narrowband whistler-mode waves at frequencies of tenths of the electron cyclotron frequency in large numbers both inside ∼0.3 au and at ∼1 au provides an answer to longstanding questions about scattering and energization of solar wind electrons. The waves can have rapid nonlinear interactions with electrons over a broad energy range. Counter propagation between electrons and waves is not required for resonance with the obliquely propagating waves in contrast to the case for parallel propagation. Using a full 3D particle tracing code, we have examined interactions of electrons with energies from 0 eV to 2 keV with whistler-mode waves with amplitudes of 20 mV m-1 and propagation angles from 0° to 180° to the background magnetic field. Interactions with wave packets and single waves are both modeled based on observations at ∼0.3 au and 1 au. A test particle simulation approach allows us to examine the particle motion in detail, which reveals kinetic effects of resonant interactions. The simulations demonstrate the key role played by these waves in rapid scattering and energization of electrons. Strong scattering and energization for some initial energy and pitch angle ranges occurs for both counter-propagating and obliquely propagating waves. Strong scattering of strahl electrons counteracts the pitch angle narrowing due to conservation of the first adiabatic invariant as electrons propagate from the Sun into regions of smaller magnetic field. Scattering also produces the hotter isotropic halo. The concomitant limiting of the electron heat flux is also relevant in other astrophysical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL33
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume914
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 20 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NASA grants NNX16AF80G, 80NSSC19K305, and NNX14AK73G.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society.

Keywords

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