Kinetic Physics of the Solar Corona and Solar Wind

Eckart Marsch
Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung
Max-Planck-Strasse 2, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau,

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Kinetic plasma physics of the solar corona and solar wind are reviewed with emphasis on the theoretical understanding of the in situ measurements of solar wind particles and waves, as well as on the remote-sensing observations of the solar corona made by means of ultraviolet spectroscopy and imaging. In order to explain coronal and interplanetary heating, the microphysics of the dissipation of various forms of mechanical, electric and magnetic energy at small scales (e.g., contained in plasma waves, turbulences or non-uniform flows) must be addressed. We therefore scrutinise the basic assumptions underlying the classical transport theory and the related collisional heating rates, and also describe alternatives associated with wave-particle interactions. We elucidate the kinetic aspects of heating the solar corona and interplanetary plasma through Landau- and cyclotron-resonant damping of plasma waves, and analyse in detail wave absorption and micro instabilities. Important aspects (virtues and limitations) of fluid models, either single- and multi-species or magnetohydrodynamic and multi-moment models, for coronal heating and solar wind acceleration are critically discussed. Also, kinetic model results which were recently obtained by numerically solving the Vlasov–Boltzmann equation in a coronal funnel and hole are presented. Promising areas and perspectives for future research are outlined finally.

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