University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Tuesday, January 21st 2020
1:25 pm:
Space Physics Seminar in Tate 201-20
Speaker: Meriem Alaoui NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Subject: What can we learn about electron acceleration in solar flares by studying return currents?

Abstract: Electron beams are thought to be accelerated during solar flares by conversion of magnetic energy into kinetic energy. These energetic beams are accelerated in the corona and stream both toward the interplanetary medium and toward lower (and denser) layers of the solar atmosphere. They constitute a current which is neutralized by a co-spatial return current. Several questions arise about the beam/return-current system, and its coupling with the plasma in which it propagates. What is the magnitude of the beam current? Is this beam stable to the generation of current-driven instabilities? Does the return current heat the plasma through Joule heating? If so, where and how much energy is deposited in the solar atmosphere? What consequences can be deduced about the acceleration mechanism? I will discuss these questions both theoretically and observationally.

Faculty Host: Lindsay Glesener

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