Solar Radio Burst Spectral Observations, Particle Acceleration, and Wave-Particle Interactions

  1. J. H. Waite Jr.,
  2. J. L. Burch and
  3. R. L. Moore
  1. Dale E. Gary and
  2. G. J. Hurford

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM054p0237

Solar System Plasma Physics

Solar System Plasma Physics

How to Cite

Gary, D. E. and Hurford, G. J. (1989) Solar Radio Burst Spectral Observations, Particle Acceleration, and Wave-Particle Interactions, in Solar System Plasma Physics (eds J. H. Waite, J. L. Burch and R. L. Moore), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM054p0237

Author Information

  1. Solar Astronomy 264–33, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1989

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900742

Online ISBN: 9781118664315



  • Space plasmas;
  • Sun;
  • Magnetosphere;
  • Astrophysics


We consider solar radio bursts throughout the radio spectrum from 30 kHz to 30 GHz. While the range of phenomena over this spectral range is large, the subject can be conceptualized by considering three characteristic frequencies of the plasma: the plasma frequency ƒp, the gyrofrequency ƒB, and the frequency ƒ(τff> = 1) at which the plasma becomes optically thick due to bremsstrahlung. We present an overview in terms of these characteristic frequencies to show why each dominates under various physical conditions in the Sun and solar wind. In the broad regime where plasma emission dominates, we discuss the progress that has been made in explaining the observed burst characteristics theoretically, concentrating on bursts of type II (shock wave related) and type III (excited by electron beams). Moving then to microwaves, we show that the microwave spectrum contains considerable diagnostic information, but that present observations cannot access it except in rare cases when the burst is spatially simple. We conclude with a discussion of future prospects for making further progress in the study of solar radio bursts.