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Spatial Expansion and Speeds of Type III Electron Beam Sources in the Solar Corona

AuthorReid, Hamish; Kontar, Eduard;
KeywordsAstrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics; parker solar probe; Solar Probe Plus; Solar wind; Sun: corona; Sun: flares; Sun: particle emission; Sun: radio radiation

A component of space weather, electron beams are routinely accelerated in the solar atmosphere and propagate through interplanetary space. Electron beams interact with Langmuir waves resulting in type III radio bursts. They expand along the trajectory and, using kinetic simulations, we explore the expansion as the electrons propagate away from the Sun. Specifically, we investigate the front, peak, and back of the electron beam in space from derived radio brightness temperatures of fundamental type III emission. The front of the electron beam travels at speeds from 0.2c to 0.7c, significantly faster than the back of the beam, which travels at speeds between 0.12c and 0.35c. The difference in speed between the front and the back elongates the electron beam in time. The rate of beam elongation has a 0.98 correlation coefficient with the peak velocity, in line with predictions from type III observations. The inferred speeds of electron beams initially increase close to the acceleration region and then decrease through the solar corona. Larger starting densities and harder initial spectral indices result in longer and faster type III sources. Faster electron beams have higher beam energy densities, and produce type IIIs with higher peak brightness temperatures and shorter FWHM durations. Higher background plasma temperatures also increase speed, particularly at the back of the beam. We show how our predictions of electron beam evolution influences type III bandwidth and drift rates. Our radial predictions of electron beam speed and expansion can be tested by the upcoming in situ electron beam measurements made by Solar Orbiter and Parker Solar Probe.

Year of Publication2018
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Number of Pages158
Date Published11/2018