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Probing the large-scale topology of the heliospheric magnetic field using Jovian electrons

Owens, M. J. ORCID:, Horbury, T. and Arge, C. N. (2010) Probing the large-scale topology of the heliospheric magnetic field using Jovian electrons. The Astrophysical Journal, 714 (2). pp. 1617-1623. ISSN 0004-637X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/714/2/1617


Jupiter’s magnetosphere acts as a point source of near-relativistic electrons within the heliosphere. In this study, three solar cycles of Jovian electron data in near-Earth space are examined. Jovian electron intensity is found to peak for an ideal Parker spiral connection, but with considerable spread about this point. Assuming the peak in Jovian electron counts indicates the best magnetic connection to Jupiter, we find a clear trend for fast and slow solar wind to be over- and under-wound with respect to the ideal Parker spiral, respectively. This is shown to be well explained in terms of solar wind stream interactions. Thus, modulation of Jovian electrons by corotating interaction regions (CIRs) may primarily be the result of changing magnetic connection, rather than CIRs acting as barriers to cross-field diffusion. By using Jovian electrons to remote sensing magnetic connectivity with Jupiter’s magnetosphere, we suggest that they provide a means to validate solar wind models between 1 and 5 AU, even when suitable in situ solar wind observations are not available. Furthermore, using Jovian electron observations as probes of heliospheric magnetic topology could provide insight into heliospheric magnetic field braiding and turbulence, as well as any systematic under-winding of the heliospheric magnetic field relative to the Parker spiral from footpoint motion of the magnetic field.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:5798
Uncontrolled Keywords:interplanetary medium; solar wind; Sun: heliosphere; Sun: magnetic topology; Sun: particle emission
Publisher:American Astronomical Society

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