Hemispheric asymmetries in the polar solar wind observed by ulysses near the minima of solar cycles 22 and 23

R. W. Ebert, M. A. Dayeh, M. I. Desai, D. J. McComas, N. V. Pogorelov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

We examined solar wind plasma and interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) observations from Ulysses' first and third orbits to study hemispheric differences in the properties of the solar wind and IMF originating from the Sun's large polar coronal holes (PCHs) during the declining and minimum phase of solar cycles 22 and 23. We identified hemispheric asymmetries in several parameters, most notably ∼15%-30% south-to-north differences in averages for the solar wind density, mass flux, dynamic pressure, and energy flux and the radial and total IMF magnitudes. These differences were driven by relatively larger, more variable solar wind density and radial IMF between ∼36°S-60°S during the declining phase of solar cycles 22 and 23. These observations indicate either a hemispheric asymmetry in the PCH output during the declining and minimum phase of solar cycles 22 and 23 with the southern hemisphere being more active than its northern counterpart, or a solar cycle effect where the PCH output in both hemispheres is enhanced during periods of higher solar activity. We also report a strong linear correlation between these solar wind and IMF parameters, including the periods of enhanced PCH output, that highlight the connection between the solar wind mass and energy output and the Sun's magnetic field. That these enhancements were not matched by similar sized variations in solar wind speed points to the mass and energy responsible for these increases being added to the solar wind while its flow was subsonic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number160
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume768
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 10 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • Sun: activity
  • interplanetary medium
  • magnetic fields
  • plasmas
  • solar wind

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