Charles Chandler wrote:Ummm... positive and negative charges go in opposite directions in an electric field. The positive charges head toward the negative electrode, and the negative charges head toward the positive electrode. All other factors being the same, they do not both travel in the same direction, but where +ions move more vigorously, because of their greater mass. Thus understanding the solar wind as a manifestation of electric forces requires more than just a static field.
I think we need to distinguish two aspects of this discussion:
1. The Solar Wind and how it how much it affects the solar system, planetary system, and out to the heliosheath.
2. The impact of the in-flow of electrons into the solar system from the intergalactic medium.
As to point number one, we look at how the solar wind impacts the planetary system. We can use this as a starting point when moving forward with considering the anode cathode aspect of the Sun and the incoming intergalactic medium as a cathode.
http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/mav ... FqsnzTF-XU
SWIA will specifically be measuring the solar wind speed and density, two critical factors that determine how its ions interact with the planet's atmospheric particles. Halekas said although the solar wind itself isn't packed with ions, its blazing speed ensures that a huge number of ions are hitting the Martian atmosphere, and interacting with the atmosphere's particles, every second.
MAVEN deputy principle investigator Janet Luhmann, also at SSL, said by measuring the solar wind's density and velocity, SWIA could help determine whether gusts of denser, faster solar wind contribute to greater atmospheric loss. This information will be used to estimate losses in the past, when solar wind gusts may have been prevalent thanks to an early, more active sun.
Once they hit the planet's atmosphere, the solar wind's ions play several critical roles in aiding particles to escape from Mars' atmosphere. The solar wind is made up of both electrons, which are very small, negatively charged particles, and ions, which are larger positively charged particles like ionized hydrogen and helium.
Halekas said both ions and electrons could start the process of particle escape by transforming the atmosphere's neutral particles into charged ions. This can occur through processes called charge exchange and impact ionization. Ultraviolet sunlight also transforms many atmospheric particles into ions. Once the atmospheric particles become charged, they can interact with the solar wind's magnetic field and be accelerated and carried away from the planet; ions that have been removed like this are called pickup ions. The ionization step is critical, since the original neutral particles don't respond to the solar wind magnetic field and generally have too little energy to escape.
Halekas said although the solar wind electrons contribute to particle escape by stripping electrons from some of the neutral atmospheric particles, it's the solar wind ions that play the more critical role in giving the particles enough energy to escape.
The ionized gases in the solar wind—known as plasma—can interact with the wind's magnetic field to form an electric field, and accelerate the newly charged particles in the atmosphere with enough energy for them to escape. While both the electrons and ions form this plasma, Halekas said the ions are in some ways more important, thanks to their larger mass.
Although the solar wind ions are travelling at the same velocity as the electrons, they have a larger mass than the electrons. This gives them a greater momentum, which is created from an object's mass and velocity. Therefore, the solar wind ions are able to transfer more of the necessary momentum to the newly formed atmospheric ions themselves, providing them with more energy to escape.
"The electrons themselves probably don't do as much work in driving escape," Halekas said. "They can ionize some atmospheric gases through electron impact ionization, but they won't drive escape through momentum transfer as the ions can."
We see further evidence of the solar wind affecting the giant planets as discussed before:
http://www.space.com/15270-auroras-uran ... hotos.html
Earth's northern lights can last for hours and dazzle skywatchers with colorful displays, but the Uranus auroras lasted only a few minutes. Even then, the events were just faint glowing dots above the planet's atmosphere. Hubble spotted the light shows at locations that corresponded to the northern magnetic pole of Uranus, researchers said, which would make them the Uranian northern lights.
Magnetic fields plus solar wind … so you’d expect aurorae on Jupiter and Saturn, right? And auroral displays around the magnetic poles of these planets are now well documented. Aurorae have also been imaged on Venus, Mars, Uranus, Neptune, and even Io.
When the solar wind's velocity drops to zero inside the heliosheath, and it is here we see the build up "high energy" electrons increase 100 times incoming from the galactic medium. Next, we will look at what surprises were found from Voyager 1 & 2 at the outer edges of the solar system. With new observations come the time for an introduction for a paradigm shift, and thus avoiding placing new theories burdening the existing paradigm, which, as stated before, cause that paradigm to collapse.
An object is cut off from its name, habits, associations. Detached, it becomes only the thing, in and of itself. When this disintegration into pure existence is at last achieved, the object is free to become endlessly anything. ~ Jim Morrison