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Dynamics of the solar wind: Eugene Parker's treatment and the laws of thermodynamics

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In 1958, Eugene Parker advanced that the solar wind must be produced through the thermal expansion of coronal gas. At the time, he introduced a dimensionless parameter, λ = G M S M H / 2 k B T 0 a , where G corresponds to the universal constant of gravitation, MS to the solar mass, MH to the mass of the hydrogen atom, kB to Boltzmann’s constant, T 0 to the temperature at the location of interest, and a is the distance to the effective surface, or the radial distance, to the outer solar corona, the location of interest, relative to the center of the Sun. It is straightforward to demonstrate that this equation stands in violation of the 0th and 2nd laws of thermodynamics by simply rearranging the expression in terms of temperature: T 0 = G M S M H / 2 k B λ a . In that case, then temperature, an intensive property, is now being defined in terms of an extensive property, MS , and the radial position, a, which is neither intensive nor extensive. All other terms in this expression are constants and unable to affect the character of a thermodynamic property. As a result, temperature in this expression is not intensive. Consequently, the expression advanced by Parker is not compatible with the laws of thermodynamics. This analysis demonstrates that solar winds cannot originate from the thermal expansion of coronal gas, as is currently accepted.
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Keywords: Parker Solar Probe; Solar Wind;; Thermodynamics;

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 7, 2019

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  • Physics Essays has been established as an international journal dedicated to theoretical and experimental aspects of fundamental problems in Physics and, generally, to the advancement of basic knowledge of Physics. The Journal's mandate is to publish rigorous and methodological examinations of past, current, and advanced concepts, methods and results in physics research. Physics Essays dedicates itself to the publication of stimulating exploratory, and original papers in a variety of physics disciplines, such as spectroscopy, quantum mechanics, particle physics, electromagnetic theory, astrophysics, space physics, mathematical methods in physics, plasma physics, philosophical aspects of physics, chemical physics, and relativity.
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