Collisionless Shocks in the Heliosphere: Reviews of Current Research


  • Anonymous


The solar wind is so tenuous that Coulomb collisions provide negligible thermalization or dissipation on scale sizes less than 0.1 AU. Violent expansions of the solar corona, solar wind velocity gradients at the surface of the sun, and steady state supermagnetosonic solar wind flow past objects such as the planets, lead to collisionless shock waves. The irreversible plasma heating produced by these shocks is accomplished by wave-particle interactions driven by plasma instabilities.