Understanding Space Weather: Part III: The Sun's Domain

Strong, Keith ; Viall, Nicholeen ; Schmelz, Joan ; Saba, Julia

Année de publication
The Sun exports a continuous outflow of plasma into interplanetary space: the solar wind. The solar wind primarily comprises two components: high- and slow-speed flows. These move with velocities ranging from 200 to 800 km s-1 depending on the source of the particular flow. As well as its speed, the density, temperature, and even the composition of the solar wind change. Adding to its intrinsic variability, there are embedded transients resulting from flares and coronal mass ejections that further complicate its dynamics and space weather impacts. The solar wind interacts differently with each of the solar system objects it encounters based on their magnetic and atmospheric properties. Even more complex processes occur as the solar wind encounters the interstellar medium, at the outer boundaries of the Sun's domain. The solar wind stretches to beyond 100 au (where 1 au ≡ 149 597 870 700 m) from the Sun, which means that Earth is essentially immersed in the very hot solar atmosphere, and that leads to many space weather impacts on life and society. The specific space weather impacts on Earth will be discussed in detail in the next two papers in this series.

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