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Generation of inverted heliospheric magnetic flux by coronal loop opening and slow solar wind release

Owens, M. J., Lockwood, M., Barnard, L. A. and Macneil, A. R. (2018) Generation of inverted heliospheric magnetic flux by coronal loop opening and slow solar wind release. The Astrophysical Journal, 868 (1). L14. ISSN 0004-637X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aaee82

Abstract/Summary

In situ spacecraft observations provide much-needed constraints on theories of solar wind formation and release, particularly the highly variable slow solar wind, which dominates near-Earth space. Previous studies have shown an association between local inversions in the heliospheric magnetic field (HMF) and solar wind released from the vicinity of magnetically closed coronal structures. We here show that in situ properties of inverted HMF are consistent with the same hot coronal source regions as the slow solar wind. We propose that inverted HMF is produced by solar wind speed shear, which results from interchange reconnection between a coronal loop and open flux tube, and introduces a pattern of fast–slow–fast wind along a given HMF flux tube. This same loop-opening process is thought to be central to slow solar wind formation. The upcoming Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter missions provide a unique opportunity to directly observe these processes and thus determine the origin of the slow solar wind.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:80704
Publisher:American Astronomical Society

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