Quasi-adiabatic and stochastic heating and particle acceleration at quasi-perpendicular shocks

Krzysztof Stasiewicz, Bengt Eliasson

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Based on Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) observations from the Earth's bow shock, we demonstrate that there are two processes for ion and electron heating at quasi-perpendicular bow shocks. Ions are subject to stochastic heating in a process controlled by the heating function $\chi_j = m_j q_j^{-1} B^{-2}\mathrm{div}(\mathbf{E}_\perp)$ for particles with mass $m_j$ and charge $q_j$ in the electric and magnetic fields $\mathbf{E}$ and $\mathbf{B}$. Test particle simulations are employed to identify the parameter ranges for bulk heating and stochastic acceleration of particles in the tail of the distribution function. The simulation results are used to show that ion heating and acceleration in the studied bow shock crossings is accomplished by waves at frequencies 1-4 Hz for the bulk heating and 5-60 Hz for the tail acceleration. When electrons are not in the stochastic heating regime, $|\chi_e|<1$, they undergo a quasi-adiabatic heating process characterised by the isotropic temperature relation $T/B=(T_0/B_0)(B_0/B)^{1/3}$. This is obtained when the energy gain from the conservation of the magnetic moment is redistributed to the parallel energy component through the scattering by waves. The results reported in this paper are directly applicable also to particle heating and acceleration at astrophysical shocks.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Sep 2020


  • electron heating
  • ion heating
  • bow shock
  • stochastic heating
  • quasi-adiabatic heating
  • shock waves
  • turbulence
  • chaos
  • acceleration of particles
  • solar wind


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