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The very slow solar wind: Properties, origin and variability

Abstract : Solar wind slower than 300 km/s, hereafter termed very slow solar wind (VSSW), is seldom observed at 1 AU. It was, however, commonly measured inside 0.7 AU by the two Helios spacecraft, particularly during solar maximum. Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) modeling reveals that the disappearance of VSSW at 1 AU is the result of its interaction with faster solar wind. The acceleration and compression of the VSSW contributes to the observed highly variable structure of the slow solar wind at 1 AU. The VSSW usually contains the heliospheric plasma sheet and current sheet. It has higher density and lower temperature than the regular slow solar wind, extending the known scaling laws below 300 km/s. Its helium abundance increases with solar activity even more significantly than the slow solar wind. Contrary to faster solar winds, the helium ions in the VSSW are slower than the dominant protons. Combining a Potential Field Source Surface (PFSS) model with ballistic back tracing, we study the source region of the VSSW. We show that the proton density flux for the VSSW is much higher than for the faster winds, particularly at solar maximum.
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Submitted on : Monday, May 23, 2022 - 11:41:10 AM
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Eduardo Sanchez-Diaz, Alexis P. Rouillard, Benoit Lavraud, Kevin Segura, Chihiro Tao, et al.. The very slow solar wind: Properties, origin and variability. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 2016, 121, pp.2830-2841. ⟨10.1002/2016JA022433⟩. ⟨insu-03675419⟩

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