Solar Physics

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 477–493

Electron plasma oscillations associated with type III radio emissions and solar electrons

  • D. A. Gurnett
  • L. A. Frank
Article

Abstract

An extensive study of the IMP-6 and IMP-8 plasma and radio wave data has been performed to try to find electron plasma oscillations associated with type III radio noise bursts and low-energy solar electrons. This study shows that electron plasma oscillations are seldom observed in association with solar electron events and type III radio bursts at 1.0 AU. In nearly four years of observations only one event was found in which electron plasma oscillations are clearly associated with solar electrons. For this event the plasma oscillations appeared coincident with the development of a secondary maximum in the electron velocity distribution functions due to solar electrons streaming outwards from the Sun. Numerous cases were found in which no electron plasma oscillations with field strengths greater than 1 μV m−1 could be detected even though electrons from the solar flare were clearly detected at the spacecraft.

For the one case in which electron plasma oscillations are definitely produced by the electrons ejected by the solar flare the electric field strength is relatively small, only about 100 μV m−1. This field strength is about a factor of ten smaller than the amplitude of electron plasma oscillations generated by electrons streaming into the solar wind from the bow shock. Electromagnetic radiation, believed to be similar to the type III radio emission, is also observed coming from the region of the more intense electron plasma oscillations upstream of the bow shock. Quantitative calculations of the rate of conversion of the plasma oscillation energy to electromagnetic radiation are presented for plasma oscillations excited by both solar electrons and electrons from the bow shock. These calculations show that neither the type III radio emissions nor the radiation from upstream of the bow shock can be adequately explained by a current theory for the coupling of electron plasma oscillations to electromagnetic radiation. Possible ways of resolving these difficulties are discussed.

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. A. Gurnett
    • 1
  • L. A. Frank
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of IowaIowa CityU.S.A.

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