Volume 558, October 2013
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Published online||01 October 2013|
The multi-fluid pressures downstream of the solar wind termination shock
Argelander Institut für Astronomie der Universität Bonn, Abteilung f. Astrophysik und Extraterrestrische Forschung, Auf dem Huegel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany
Received: 11 July 2013
Accepted: 8 August 2013
In this paper we consider a multi-fluid plasma that describes the upstream solar wind at its passage over the solar wind termination shock. In one respect, the plasma at the shock reacts like a joint fluid that is described by a single compression ratio. This ratio depends on all upstream and downstream pressures of the magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) plasma. In another respect, the distinguished plasma fluids in their downstream properties show fluid-specific reactions, thet we describe by using additional kinetic information on the plasma constituents, such as the Liouville theorem, the conservation of typical particle invariants, and the species-specific influence of the electric shock ramp. We thus obtain the resulting distribution functions of the seperate fluid particles and their associated velocity moments for the downstream region, especially their separate fluid pressures. We show that the different fluid pressures in different forms depend on the shock compression ratio and on the tilt angle between the upstream magnetic field and the shock surface normal. The dominant downstream pressures are connected with the pick-up protons and with the solar wind electrons, one dominating under some given shock conditions, the other dominating under some other shock conditions. Since the downstream distributions of solar wind protons and pick-up protons partly overlap in velocity space, we look for a joint distribution of the joint proton population in the form of a joint Kappa distribution and find that the associated Kappa index and the “Gaussian velocity width” are functions of the pick-up ion abundance, of the joint compression ratio, and of the tilt angle. Owing to the strongly heated electrons the energy-per-mass density ratio of the downstream plasma turns out to be fairly different from all that was expected up to now. This might also give a hint as to why the heliosheath plasma flow lines seen by Voyagers are different from all MHD simulations so far.
Key words: shock waves / plasmas / solar wind / Sun: heliosphere
© ESO, 2013
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