Morphology and evolution of the heliospheric comment and plasma sheets from 1 to 5 AU

X. Y. Zhou, E. J. Smith, D. Wiaterhalter, D. J. McComas, R. M. Skoug, B. E. Goldstein, C. W. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Spacecraft reaching 5 AU and beyond present an opportunity to study the thickness of the heliospheric current sheet (HCS) and plasma sheet (HPS), how they change with distance and what determines their thickness. To answer these questions, we studied HCS/HPS thickness at several distances using field and plasma data obtained by Ulysses and ACE. The Ulysses data were obtained in 1991 en-route to Jupiter near 3 AU and in 2004 near 5 AU. The same current-plasma sheets analyzed at ∼5 AU were then identified and studied in ACE data at 1 AU. The median thickness of the HCS decreased slightly with distance from the sun (1700 to 1450 km). The HPS medians also decreased with distance (3×106 to 1.4× 106 km). However, individual HCS thicknesses appear to be uncorrelated with the associated HPS thickness. No obvious controllers of the HCS or HPS thickness have been identified. Polarity reversals in electron heat flux were well correlated with the HCS at 5 AU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-662
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP
Issue number592
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes
EventSolar Wind 11/SOHO 16 - Connecting Sun and Heliosphere - Whistler, Canada
Duration: Jun 12 2005Jun 17 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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