Currently available models of one of the most intriguing types of unsteady rf solar emission, millisecond solar radio spikes, are discussed. A comparative analysis of the models' implications and of the body of existing data yields an outline of the most realistic radio spike model possible. The spikes are produced by the cyclotron maser mechanism. The cyclotron cone instability is caused by fast electrons distributed over energies according to a (piecewise) power law. The angular part of the distribution function (whose exact form is, as yet, undetermined) suffers fluctuations due to the magnetic field inhomogeneities that arise in the burst loop as a consequence of the original energy release. In some portions of the loop the distribution is not anisotropic enough to secure the development of a cyclotron instability; it is in these 'microtraps' where individual spikes form. Key areas of future theoretical and experimental research are suggested with a view to verifying the adequacy and realizing the diagnostic potential of the model.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)