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Constraints on Nonlinear and Stochastic Growth Theories for Type 3 Solar Radio Bursts from the Corona to 1 AUExisting, competing theories for coronal and interplanetary type III solar radio bursts appeal to one or more of modulational instability, electrostatic (ES) decay processes, or stochastic growth physics to preserve the electron beam, limit the levels of Langmuir-like waves driven by the beam, and produce wave spectra capable of coupling nonlinearly to generate the observed radio emission. Theoretical constraints exist on the wavenumbers and relative sizes of the wave bandwidth and nonlinear growth rate for which Langmuir waves are subject to modulational instability and the parametric and random phase versions of ES decay. A constraint also exists on whether stochastic growth theory (SGT) is appropriate. These constraints are evaluated here using the beam, plasma, and wave properties (1) observed in specific interplanetary type III sources, (2) predicted nominally for the corona, and (3) predicted at heliocentric distances greater than a few solar radii by power-law models based on interplanetary observations. It is found that the Langmuir waves driven directly by the beam have wavenumbers that are almost always too large for modulational instability but are appropriate to ES decay. Even for waves scattered to lower wavenumbers (by ES decay, for instance), the wave bandwidths are predicted to be too large and the nonlinear growth rates too small for modulational instability to occur for the specific interplanetary events studied or the great majority of Langmuir wave packets in type III sources at arbitrary heliocentric distances. Possible exceptions are for very rare, unusually intense, narrowband wave packets, predominantly close to the Sun, and for the front portion of very fast beams traveling through unusually dilute, cold solar wind plasmas. Similar arguments demonstrate that the ES decay should proceed almost always as a random phase process rather than a parametric process, with similar exceptions. These results imply that it is extremely rare for modulational instability or parametric decay to proceed in type III sources at any heliocentric distance: theories for type III bursts based on modulational instability or parametric decay are therefore not viable in general. In contrast, the constraint on SGT can be satisfied and random phase ES decay can proceed at all heliocentric distances under almost all circumstances. (The contrary circumstances involve unusually slow, broad beams moving through unusually hot regions of the Corona.) The analyses presented here strongly justify extending the existing SGT-based model for interplanetary type III bursts (which includes SGT physics, random phase ES decay, and specific electromagnetic emission mechanisms) into a general theory for type III bursts from the corona to beyond 1 AU. This extended theory enjoys strong theoretical support, explains the characteristics of specific interplanetary type III bursts very well, and can account for the detailed dynamic spectra of type III bursts from the lower corona and solar wind.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Cairns, Iver H. (Iowa Univ. Iowa City, IA United States)
Robinson, P. A. (Sydney Univ. Australia)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
December 10, 1998
Publication Information
Publication: The Astrophysical Journal
Volume: 509
Subject Category
Solar Physics
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits