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View Full Version : STEREO spacecraft find CME structures



Swift
2011-Aug-19, 06:35 PM
From R&D Magazine on-line (http://www.rdmag.com/News/2011/08/General-Science-Images-Reveal-Structures-Of-Solar-Wind/?et_cid=1968925&et_rid=54734303&linkid=http%3a%2f%2fwww.rdmag.com%2fNews%2f2011%2f 08%2fGeneral-Science-Images-Reveal-Structures-Of-Solar-Wind%2f)

Using data collected by NASA's STEREO spacecraft, researchers at Southwest Research Institute and the National Solar Observatory have developed the first detailed images of solar wind structures as plasma and other particles from a coronal mass ejection (CME) traveled 93 million miles and impacted Earth.

The images from a December 2008 CME event reveal an array of dynamic interactions as the solar wind, traveling at speeds up to a million miles per hour, shifts and changes on its three-day journey to Earth, guided by the magnetic field lines that spiral out from the Sun's surface. Observed structures include the solar wind piling up at the leading edge of a CME, voids in the interior, long thread-like structures, and rear cusps. Quiet periods show a magnetic disconnection phenomenon called a plasmoid, "puffs" that correlate with in-situ density fluctuations, and V-shaped structures centered on the current sheet—a heliospheric structure in which the polarity of the Sun's magnetic field changes from north to south.

There are images in the linked article.

Pretty neat work and probably just a taste of the kind of data that STEREO will continue to get.