Coronal magnetic field topology and source of fast solar wind

M. Guhathakurta, E. Sittler, R. Fisher, D. McComas, B. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We have developed a steady state, 2D semi-empirical MHD model of the solar corona and the solar wind with many surprising results. This model for the first time shows, that the boundary between the fast and the slow solar wind as observed by Ulysses beyond 1 AU, is established in the low corona. The fastest wind observed by Ulysses (680-780 km/s) originates from the polar coronal holes at 70°-90°latitude at the Sun. Rapidly diverging magnetic field geometry accounts for the fast wind reaching down to a latitude of ±30°at the orbit of Earth. The gradual increase in the fast wind observed by Ulysses, with latitude, can be explained by an increasing field strength towards the poles, which causes Alfven wave energy flux to increase towards the poles. Empirically, there is a direct relationship between this gradual increase in wind speed and the expansion factor, f, computed at r > 20R(o). This relationship is inverse if f is computed very close to the Sun.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2901-2904
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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