Wilson, Lynn B.; Chen, Li-Jen; Wang, Shan; Schwartz, Steven J.; Turner, Drew L.; Stevens, Michael L.; Kasper, Justin C.; Osmane, Adnane; Caprioli, Damiano; Bale, Stuart D.; Pulupa, Marc P.; Salem, Chadi S.; Goodrich, Katherine A.
(2019)
Analyses of 15,314 electron velocity distribution functions (VDFs) within +/- 2 hr of 52 interplanetary (IP) shocks observed by the Wind spacecraft near 1 au are introduced. The electron VDFs are fit to the sum of three model functions for the cold dense core, hot tenuous halo, and field-aligned beam/strahl component. The best results were found by modeling the core as either a bi-kappa or a symmetric (or asymmetric) bi-self-similar VDF, while both the halo and beam/strahl components were best fit to bi-kappa VDF. This is the first statistical study to show that the core electron distribution is better fit to a self-similar VDF than a bi-Maxwellian under all conditions. The self-similar distribution deviation from a Maxwellian is a measure of inelasticity in particle scattering from waves and/or turbulence. The ranges of values defined by the lower and upper quartiles for the kappa exponents are k(ec) similar to 5.40-10.2 for the core, k(eh) similar to 3.58-5.34 for the halo, and k(eb) similar to 3.40-5.16 for the beam/strahl. The lower-to-upper quartile range of symmetric bi-self-similar core exponents is s(ec) similar to 2.00-2.04, and those of asymmetric bi-self-similar core exponents are p(ec) similar to 2.20-4.00 for the parallel exponent and q(ec) similar to 2.00-2.46 for the perpendicular exponent. The nuanced details of the fit procedure and description of resulting data product are also presented. The statistics and detailed analysis of the results are presented in Paper II and Paper III of this three-part study.