Universal Plasma Processes

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Origins and Properties of Kappa Distributions

1 January 2015
Empirical kappa distributions provide a straightforward replacement of the Maxwell distribution for systems out of thermal equilibrium such as space plasmas. Kappa distributions have become increasingly widespread across space physics with the number of relevant papers following, remarkably, an exponential growth rate. However, the vast majority of these papers refer to various fits of kappa distributions rather than their theoretical aspects. Even more rare is the identification of mechanics that can lead to kappa distributions. Recent advances in space physics show the connection of kappa distributions with statistical mechanics and thermodynamics. Now that their statistical framework has been identified, we can better 1) improve our understanding on the statistical origin of kappa distributions, 2) develop the possible physical mechanisms that create this statistical environment that frames these distributions, and 3) discover the properties of non-equilibrium thermodynamics that describe the populations of space and other natural/laboratory plasmas.

Laboratory and Space Plasmas

1 July 1999
Basic plasma physics experiments in the laboratory, as well as laboratory experiments specifically tailored to simulate space physics processes, have a unique role in the spacep hysicsd isciplinet hat is not alwaysa ppreciated.T his specials ectionf ocuseso n advancesin this area that may benefit Journalo f GeophysicaRl esearch-SpacPeh ysicsr eadersa s they pursuer esearchu singt heoreticalt ools and spacecraft, rocket, and radar observations.

Thermal Plasma in the Solar System

1 February 1997
This issue contains a special collection of papers inspired by Konstantin I. Gringauz and William B. Hanson.

The Equinox Transition Study

1 December 1989
The Equinox Transition Study (ETS) of September 17-24, 1984, was an extraordinarily successful coordinated campaign. The experimental design resulted in a large quantity of high-quality data that were comprehensive both in their completeness of measured parameters and in coverage that was global rather than mesoscale.

Viking Investigations of High-Latitude Plasma Processes

1 May 1990
The Swedish satellite project Viking is described and related to earlier missions. Some new operational characteristics are discussed, including the real-time data analysis campaigns that were an important part of the project. Some areas of important scientific impact of the project are also described.

Freja Investigations of High-Latitude Plasma Processes

1 March 1998
Freja was a joint Swedish and German scientific satellite project to study the interaction between hot magnetospheric plasma and the topside atmosphere/ionosphere. Freja was launched on October 6, 1992, and it operated successfully during 4 years until October 1996 when the command system ceased to work.

Advances in Auroral Plasma Physics

1 January 2011
K. Markland
The auroral regions are regions where a significant fraction of the energy fed in by the solar wind to the magnetosphere is dissipated. Recent multispacecraft and multirocket missions are providing new results concerning auroral particle acceleration processes thanks to both high time and space resolution. We welcome papers that highlight the spatiotemporal features of the aurora and the relation between quasi-static and Alfvenic acceleration