Discovering the mechanism of formation of the "slow" solar wind Discovering the mechanism of formation of the "slow" solar wind

Discovering the mechanism of formation of the "slow" solar wind

Discovering the mechanism of formation of the "slow" solar wind
Using the Solar Orbiter probe, an international team of astronomers discovered the first physical evidence that the so-called "slow solar wind" originates in closed regions of the sun's corona.

A report published by the press service of the British University of Northumbria stated: “Data collected with the help of the Solar Orbiter probe indicate that “slow” solar wind flows come from those areas in the Sun where parts of the closed and open corona touch, and this supports... The theory links the formation of the "slow" solar wind to the reconnection of magnetic field lines, allowing matter to "escape" from closed regions of the solar corona.

This conclusion was reached by a group of astronomers led by Udo Schöle, a researcher at the Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen, when studying data collected by the probe in March 2022. At this time, as the scientists noted, the solar probe was at a distance of 0.5 astronomical units (average The distance between the Earth and the Sun) only from the Sun, which allowed then scientists to study the structure of two streams of "slow" solar wind.

When studying it, scientists benefited from the fact that the proportions of magnesium, neon, and some other heavy element ions in the material of the solar corona vary with its different regions. Which makes it possible to determine the place of origin of this or that solar wind stream and reveal the mechanisms of its formation. Guided by this idea, scientists measured the ratios of magnesium and neon in five solar wind streams using the Solar Orbiter probe's instruments.

Calculations conducted by scientists indicate that "slow" solar wind streams originated in those areas of the Sun's surface where there are border areas between coronal holes and the rest of the Sun's corona. According to the researchers, this indicates that the “slow” winds arise as a result of the interruption and reconnection of magnetic field lines in these regions of the corona, allowing matter from its inner regions to “escape” into outer space.

As the researchers note, the results of the Solar Probe observations support the theory that the “slow” solar wind consists of material normally trapped in so-called closed regions of the corona, where magnetic field lines remain closed. The researchers concluded that its periodic interruptions and reconnections create the conditions for the formation of heterogeneous and highly unstable emissions of the “slow” solar wind.


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