Solar Physics

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 485-501

First online:

Fast solar electrons, interplanetary plasma and km-wave type-III radio bursts observed from the IMP-6 spacecraft

  • Hector AlvarezAffiliated withRadio Astronomy Observatory, University of Michigan
  • , Robert P. LinAffiliated withSpace Sciences Laboratory, University of California
  • , Samuel J. BameAffiliated withLos Alamos Scientific Laboratory

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IMP-6 spacecraft observations of low frequency radio emission, fast electrons, and solar wind plasma are used to examine the dynamics of the fast electron streams which generate solar type-III radio bursts. Of twenty solar electron events observed between April, 1971 and August, 1972, four were found to be amenable to detailed analysis. Observations of the direction of arrival of the radio emission at different frequencies were combined with the solar wind density and velocity measurements at 1 AU to define an Archimedean spiral trajectory for the radio burst exciter. The propagation characteristics of the exciter and of the fast electrons observed at 1 AU were then conpared. We find that: (1) the fast electrons excite the radio emission at the second harmonic; (2) the total distance travelled by the electrons was between 30 and 70% longer than the length of the smooth spiral defined by the radio observations; (3) this additional distance travelled is the result of scattering of the electrons in the interplanetary medium; (4) the observations are consistent with negligible true energy loss by the fast electrons.