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Intermittent release of transients in the slow solar wind: 1. Remote sensing observations

By A. P. Rouillard, J. A. Davies, B. Lavraud, R. J. Forsyth, N. P. Savani, D. Bewsher, D. S. Brown, N. R. Sheeley, Chris J. Scott, R. A. Harrison, R. A. Howard, A. Vourlidas, M. Lockwood, S. R. Crothers and C. J. Eyles


The Heliospheric Imager (HI) instruments on board the STEREO spacecraft are used to analyze the solar wind during August and September 2007. We show how HI can be used to image the streamer belt and, in particular, the variability of the slow solar wind which originates inside and in the vicinity of the streamer belt. Intermittent mass flows are observed in HI difference images, streaming out along the extension of helmet streamers. These flows can appear very differently in images: plasma distributed on twisted flux ropes, V‐shaped structures, or “blobs.” The variety of these transient features may highlight the richness of phenomena that could occur near helmet streamers: emergence of flux ropes, reconnection of magnetic field lines at the tip of helmet streamers, or disconnection of open magnetic field lines. The plasma released with these transient events\ud forms part of the solar wind in the higher corona; HI observations show that these transients are frequently entrained by corotating interaction regions (CIRs), leading to the formation of larger, brighter plasma structures in HI images. This entrainment is used to estimate the trajectory of these plasma ejecta. In doing so, we demonstrate that successive transients can be entrained by the same CIR in the high corona if they emanate from the same corotating source. Some parts of the streamers are more effective sources of transients than others. Surprisingly, evidence is given for the outflow of a recurring twisted magnetic structure, suggesting that the emergence of flux ropes can be recurrent

Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:centaur.reading.ac.uk:7208

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