Stochastic heating, differential flow, and the alpha-to-proton temperature ratio in the solar wind

B. D.G. Chandran, D. Verscharen, E. Quataert, J. C. Kasper, P. A. Isenberg, S. Bourouaine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


We extend previous theories of stochastic ion heating to account for the motion of ions along the magnetic field B . We derive an analytic expression for the temperature ratio T 0/T 0p in the solar wind assuming that stochastic heating is the dominant ion heating mechanism, where T 0i is the perpendicular temperature of species i and T 0p is the perpendicular proton temperature. This expression describes how T 0i/T 0p depends upon U i and βp, where U i is the average velocity along B of species i in the proton frame and βp is the ratio of the parallel proton pressure to the magnetic pressure, which we take to be ≲ 1. We compare our model with previously published measurements of alpha particles and protons from the Wind spacecraft. We find that stochastic heating offers a promising explanation for the dependence of T /T 0p on U α and βp when the fractional cross helicity and Alfvén ratio at the proton-gyroradius scale have values that are broadly consistent with solar-wind measurements. We also predict how the temperatures of other ion species depend on their drift speeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number45
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 10 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: corona
  • plasmas
  • solar wind
  • turbulence
  • waves


Dive into the research topics of 'Stochastic heating, differential flow, and the alpha-to-proton temperature ratio in the solar wind'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this