Publication: Estimates of Proton and Electron Heating Rates Extended to the Near-Sun Environment

Sept. 27, 2023

The differential heating of charged species due to dissipation of turbulent fluctuations plays a key role in solar wind evolution. Measurements from previous heliophysics missions have provided estimates of proton and electron heating rates beyond 0.27 au. Using Parker Solar Probe (PSP) data accumulated during the first 10 encounters, we extend the evaluation of the individual rates of heat deposition for protons and electrons to a distance of 0.063 au (13.5 solar radii) in the newly formed solar wind. The PSP data in the near-Sun environment show different behavior of the electron heat conduction flux from what was predicted from previous fits to Helios and Ulysses data. Consequently, the empirically derived proton and electron heating rates exhibit significantly different behavior than previous reports, with the proton heating becoming increasingly dominant over electron heating at decreasing heliocentric distances. We find that the protons receive about 80% of the total plasma heating at ≈13 solar radii, slightly higher than the near-Earth values. This empirically derived heating partition between protons and electrons will help to constrain theoretical models of solar wind heating.

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