Context. Recent studies on Kappa distribution functions invoked in space plasma applications have emphasized two alternative approaches which may assume the temperature parameter either dependent or independent of the power-index $\kappa$. Each of them can obtain justification in different scenarios involving Kappa-distributed plasmas, but direct evidences supporting any of these two alternatives with measurements from laboratory or natural plasmas are not available yet. Aims. This paper aims to provide more facts on this intriguing issue from direct fitting measurements of suprathermal electron populations present in the solar wind, as well as from their destabilizing effects predicted by these two alternating approaches. Methods. Two fitting models are contrasted, namely, the global Kappa and the dual Maxwellian-Kappa models, which are currently invoked in theory and observations. The destabilizing effects of suprathermal electrons are characterized on the basis of a kinetic approach which accounts for the microscopic details of the velocity distribution. Results. In order to be relevant, the model is chosen to accurately reproduce the observed distributions and this is achieved by a dual Maxwellian-Kappa distribution function. A statistical survey indicates a $\kappa$-dependent temperature of the suprathermal (halo) electrons for any heliocentric distance. Only for this approach the instabilities driven by the temperature anisotropy are found to be systematically stimulated by the abundance of suprathermal populations, i.e., lowering the values of $\kappa$-index.
M. Lazar, V. Pierrard, S. Shaaban, et. al.
Tue, 7 Mar 17
Comments: Submitted to A&A