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The Astrophysical Journal


Recently, it was demonstrated that stochastic acceleration of particles going through a series of compressive plasma waves can be efficient and fast. It could be too fast so that the pressure built up by the accelerated particles may in turn modify the amplitude of waves to prevent the particles from having an exploding pressure. We call this condition pressure balance. In this paper, we take into account the fact that active acceleration of particles only occupies a limited volume of space due to a possible intermittent nature of plasma waves or turbulence. We develop a bimodal acceleration theory that treats the populations of particles in the active and inactive acceleration regions separately and allows the two populations to exchange particles efficiently. Under the requirement of the pressure balance condition, we show that the system automatically produces a solution of v {sup -5} steady state distribution for the accelerated particles. It is found that the v {sup -5} distribution is more robust and easier to achieve with a small volume of intense particle acceleration. These properties explain why the v {sup -5} distribution is commonly observed in space. We apply our model to pickup ion propagation and acceleration throughout the entire heliosphere. Our results can reproduce various observations in some great detail. We also found that this mechanism could be responsible for producing anomalous cosmic rays deep in the heliosheath.



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