Helios: Evolution of Distribution Functions 0.3–1 AU
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The radial evolution of the velocity distribution functions of the protons, electrons and ions, as they were measured during the Helios mission in the solar wind between 0.3 and 1.0 AU, is discussed and analysed. Emphasis is placed on the detailed plasma measurements, and on the non-thermal features of the particles and the kinetic processes they undergo in the expanding solar wind. As the plasma is multi-component and nonuniform, complexity prevails and the observed distributions exhibit, owing to their low number densities, significant deviations from local thermal equilibrium, and reveal such suprathermal particles as the strahl electrons, as well as ion beams and temperature anisotropies. The distribution functions still carry imprints of their solar boundaries that are reflected locally, but also have ample free energy driving in situ plasma instabilities which are triggered and modulated by wave-particle interactions. The ion temperatures and their anisotropies and the non-adiabatic radial evolution of the solar wind internal energy are discussed in detail.
KeywordsSolar wind plasma Sources of solar wind Interplanetary magnetic fields MHD waves Plasma waves, turbulence
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