387 research outputs found

    Magnetic fields, plasmas, and coronal holes: The inner solar system

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    In situ magnetic field and plasma observations within 1 AU which describe MDH stream flows and Alfvenic fluctuations, the latest theories of those phenomena are discussed. Understanding of streams and fluctuations was enhanced by the acquisition of nearly complete sets of high resolution plasma and magnetic data simultaneously at two or more points by IMPs 6, 7, and 8, Mariner-Venus-Mercury, HELIOS 1, and HELIOS 2. Observations demonstrate that streams can have very thin boundaries in latitude and longitude near the sun. This has necessitated a revision of earlier views of stream dynamics, for it is now clear that magnetic pressure is a major factor in the dynamics of stream in the inner solar system and that nonlinear phenomena are significant much closer to the sun than previously believed. Simultaneous IMP 6, 7, and 8 observations of Alfvenic fluctuations indicate that they are probably not simply transverse Alfven waves and suggest that Alfvenic fluctuations are better described as nonplanar, large-amplitude, general Alfven waves moving through an inhomogeneous and discontinuous medium, and coupled to a compressive mode

    Corotating pressure waves without streams in the solar wind

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    Voyager 1 and 2 magnetic field and plasma data are presented which demonstrate the existence of large scale, corotating, non-linear pressure waves between 2 AU and 4 AU that are not accompanied by fast streams. The pressure waves are presumed to be generated by corotating streams near the Sun. For two of the three pressure waves that are discussed, the absence of a stream is probably a real, physical effect, viz., a consequence of deceleration of the stream by the associated compression wave. For the third pressure wave, the apparent absence of a stream may be a geometrical effect; it is likely that the stream was at latitudes just above those of the spacecraft, while the associated shocks and compression wave extended over a broader range of latitudes so that they could be observed by the spacecraft. It is suggested that the development of large-scale non-linear pressure waves at the expense of the kinetic energy of streams produces a qualitative change in the solar wind in the outer heliosphere. Within a few AU the quasi-stationary solar wind structure is determined by corotating streams whose structure is determined by the boundary conditions near the Sun

    Microstructure of the Interplanetary Medium

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    High time resolution measurements of the interplanetary magnetic field and plasma reveal a complex microstructure which includes hydromagnetic wave and discontinuities. The identification of hydromagnetic waves and discontinuities, their statistical properties, their relation to large-scale structure, and their relative contribution to power spectra are discussed

    Interplanetary stream interfaces

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    At l AU there is a distinct boundary (the stream interface) at the leading edge of a stream in the solar wind, characterized by an abrupt drop in density, a similar increase in temperature and a small increase in speed. It is suggested that stream interfaces form in the interplanetary medium as a consequence of the non-linear evolution of streams generated by an increase in temperature in the solar envelope. This evolution eventually leads to the formation of a reverse shock behind the interface and a forward shock ahead of it. Two instances in which both a stream interface and a reverse shock had developed at l AU are presented. Examples of flare generated shocks which passed through a stream and were observed near a stream interface are also presented. It is shown that stream interfaces are definitely not the same structures as piston boundaries. It is noted that slow shocks, like stream interfaces, always occur ahead of streams and may develop in the interplanetary medium

    Magnetic clouds in the solar wind

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    Two interplanetary magnetic clouds, characterized by anomalous magnetic field directions and unusually high magnetic field strengths with a scale of the order of 0.25 AU, are identified and described. As the clouds moved past a spacecraft located in the solar wind near Earth, the magnetic field direction changed by rotating approximately 180 deg nearly parallel to a plane which was essentially perpendicular to the ecliptic. The configuration of the magnetic field in the clouds might be that of a tightly wound cylindrical helix or a series of closed circular loops. One of the magnetic clouds was in a cold stream preceded by a shock, and it caused both a geomagnetic storm and a depression in the galactic cosmic ray intensity. No stream, geomagnetic storm, or large cosmic ray decrease was associated with the other magnetic cloud

    The large-scale magnetic field in the solar wind

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    A literature review is presented of theoretical models of the interaction of the solar wind and interplanetary magnetic fields. Observations of interplanetary magnetic fields by the IMP and OSO spacecraft are discussed. The causes for cosmic ray variations (Forbush decreases) by the solar wind are examined. The model of Parker is emphasized. This model shows the three dimensional magnetic field lines of the solar wind to have the form of spirals wrapped on cones. It is concluded that an out-of-the-ecliptic solar probe mission would allow the testing and verification of the various theoretical models examined. Diagrams of the various models are shown

    Interplanetary stream magnetism: Kinematic effects

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    The particle density, and the magnetic field intensity and direction are calculated in corotating streams of the solar wind, assuming that the solar wind velocity is constant and radial and that its azimuthal variations are not two rapid. The effects of the radial velocity profile in corotating streams on the magnetic fields were examined using kinematic approximation and a variety of field configurations on the inner boundary. Kinematic and dynamic effects are discussed

    Fractal structure of the interplanetary magnetic field

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    Under some conditions, time series of the interplanetary magnetic field strength and components have the properties of fractal curves. Magnetic field measurements made near 8.5 AU by Voyager 2 from June 5 to August 24, 1981 were self-similar over time scales from approximately 20 sec to approximately 3 x 100,000 sec, and the fractal dimension of the time series of the strength and components of the magnetic field was D = 5/3, corresponding to a power spectrum P(f) approximately f sup -5/3. Since the Kolmogorov spectrum for homogeneous, isotropic, stationary turbulence is also f sup -5/3, the Voyager 2 measurements are consistent with the observation of an inertial range of turbulence extending over approximately four decades in frequency. Interaction regions probably contributed most of the power in this interval. As an example, one interaction region is discussed in which the magnetic field had a fractal dimension D = 5/3

    Interplanetary magnetic clouds at 1 AU

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    Magnetic clouds are defined as regions with a radial dimension approximately 0.25 AU (at 1 AU) in which the magnetic field strength is high and the magnetic field direction changes appreciably by means of rotation of one component of B nearly parallel to a plane. The magnetic field geometry in such a magnetic cloud is consistent with that of a magnetic loop, but it cannot be determined uniquely. Forty-five clouds were identified in interplanetary data obtained near Earth between 1967 and 1978; at least one cloud passed the Earth every three months. Three classes of clouds were identified, corresponding to the association of a cloud with a shock, a stream interface, or a CME. There are approximately equal numbers of clouds in each class, and the three types of clouds might be different manifestations of a coronal transient. The magnetic pressure inside the clouds is higher than the ion pressure and the sum is higher than the pressure of the material outside of the cloud

    The Propagation of Solar Energetic Particles in Magnetic Channels

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    The existence of interplanetary flow systems produced by the entrainment of interplanetary transients, consisting of flare produced shocks, high speed solar wind streams and coronal mass ejection, has been established. This entrainment process produces enhanced regions of the interplanetary magnetic field that should be connected back to the solar corona. These compressed regions can provide a preferred magnetic channel for the propagation of solar cosmic rays. The characteristics of these events appear to be different from those previously reported by the NASA/University of New Hampshire team and the University of Chicago in their study of a large number of events in the region beyond 1 AU. These new events have a very flat energy spectra (with gamma = approx. 1.5) that frequently extend to energies above 100 MeV and have a significant enhancement of MeV electrons
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