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Direct detection of solar angular momentum loss with the wind spacecraft

Finley, A. J., Hewitt, A. L., Matt, S. P., Owens, M. ORCID:, Pinto, R. F. and Réville, V. (2019) Direct detection of solar angular momentum loss with the wind spacecraft. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 885 (2). L30. ISSN 0004-637X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ab4ff4


The rate at which the solar wind extracts angular momentum (AM) from the Sun has been predicted by theoretical models for many decades, and yet we lack a conclusive measurement from in situ observations. In this Letter we present a new estimate of the time-varying AM flux in the equatorial solar wind, as observed by the Wind spacecraft from 1994 to 2019. We separate the AM flux into contributions from the protons, alpha particles, and magnetic stresses, showing that the mechanical flux in the protons is ~3 times larger than the magnetic field stresses. We observe the tendency for the AM flux of fast wind streams to be oppositely signed to the slow wind streams, as noted by previous authors. From the average total flux, we estimate the global AM loss rate of the Sun to be 3.3 × 1030 erg, which lies within the range of various magnetohydrodynamic wind models in the literature. This AM loss rate is a factor of ~2 weaker than required for a Skumanich-like rotation period evolution (${{\rm{\Omega }}}_{* }\,\propto $ stellar age−1/2), which should be considered in studies of the rotation period evolution of Sun-like stars.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:87800
Publisher:American Astronomical Society


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