Deep Solar Activity Minimum 2007-2009: Solar Wind Properties and Major Effects on the Terrestrial Magnetosphere

Тип публикации: статья из журнала

Год издания: 2012

Идентификатор DOI: 10.1007/s11207-012-0119-1

Аннотация: We discuss the temporal variations and frequency distributions of solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field parameters during the solar minimum of 2007-2009 from measurements returned by the IMPACT and PLASTIC instruments on STEREO-A. We find that the density and total field strength were significantly weaker than in the previous minimum. The Alfv,n Mach number was higher than typical. This reflects the weakness of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) forces, and has a direct effect on the solar wind-magnetosphere interactions. We then discuss two major aspects that this weak solar activity had on the magnetosphere, using data from Wind and ground-based observations: i) the dayside contribution to the cross-polar cap potential (CPCP), and ii) the shapes of the magnetopause and bow shock. For i) we find a low interplanetary electric field of 1.3 +/- 0.9 mV m(-1) and a CPCP of 37.3 +/- 20.2 kV. The auroral activity is closely correlated to the prevalent stream-stream interactions. We suggest that the Alfven wave trains in the fast streams and Kelvin-Helmholtz instability were the predominant agents mediating the transfer of solar wind momentum and energy to the magnetosphere during this three-year period. For ii) we determine 328 magnetopause and 271 bow shock crossings made by Geotail, Cluster 1, and the THEMIS B and C spacecraft during a three-month interval when the daily averages of the magnetic and kinetic energy densities attained their lowest value during the three years under survey. We use the same numerical approach as in Fairfield's (J. Geophys. Res. 76, 7600, 1971) empirical model and compare our findings with three magnetopause models. The stand-off distance of the subsolar magnetopause and bow shock were 11.8 R-E and 14.35 R-E, respectively. When comparing with Fairfield's (1971) classic result, we find that the subsolar magnetosheath is thinner by similar to 1 R-E. This is mainly due to the low dynamic pressure which results in a sunward shift of the magnetopause. The magnetopause is more flared than in Fairfield's model. By contrast the bow shock is less flared, and the latter is the result of weaker MHD forces.

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Выпуск журнала: Vol. 281, Is. 1

Номера страниц: 461-489

ISSN журнала: 00380938

Место издания: DORDRECHT

Издатель: SPRINGER


  • Farrugia C.J. (Space Science Center and Department of Physics,University of New Hampshire)
  • Erkaev N.V. (Siberian Federal University)
  • Szabo A. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)
  • Ogilvie K.W. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)
  • Osherovich V.A. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)
  • Luhmann J.G. (Space Sciences Laboratory)
  • Harris B. (Space Science Center and Department of Physics,University of New Hampshire)
  • Leitner M. (Institute for Astro- and Particle Physics,University of Innsbruck)
  • Galvin A.B. (Space Science Center and Department of Physics,University of New Hampshire)
  • Simunac K.D.C. (Space Science Center and Department of Physics,University of New Hampshire)
  • Torbert R.B. (Space Science Center and Department of Physics,University of New Hampshire)
  • Mostl C. (Space Sciences Laboratory)
  • Temmer M.B. (Space Research Institute,Austrian Academy of Sciences)
  • Veronig A.M. (Kanzelhohe Observatory - IGAM, Institute of Physics,University of Graz)

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