Ulysses solar wind plasma observations during the declining phase of solar cycle 22

J. L. Phillips, S. J. Bame, W. C. Feldman, J. T. Gosling, C. M. Hammond, D. J. McComas, B. E. Goldstein, M. Neugebauer

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12 Scopus citations


Since launch in October 1990, the Ulysses mission has included an in-ecliptic cruise enroute to Jupiter encounter in February 1992 and a post-Jupiter transit through a wide range of southerly latitudes and heliocentric distances. Here we present results from the solar wind plasma experiment through June 14, 1994, at which time Ulysses was at -68.2° heliographic latitude. During the ecliptic phase of the mission, occurring just after solar maximum, the spacecraft encountered an irregular pattern of solar wind speed and sporadic coronal mass ejections, with mass ejections most prevalent during March 1991. Irregular, small-amplitude solar wind streams prevailed until mid-1992, after which Ulysses encountered a recurrent very high-speed stream from an equatorward extension of the South polar coronal hole. Encounters with the high-density, low-speed plasma from the coronal streamer belt ceased as Ulysses moved to increasing southerly latitudes in 1993. Many forward and reverse shocks associated with corotating interaction regions have been encountered; these shocks all had observable electron foreshocks. The shocks became less prevalent with increasing latitude, with the forward shocks disappearing first because of the tilted streamer belt and the resulting meridional shock propagation. After Ulysses passed -35° in July 1993 the spacecraft encountered only high-speed wind, with a speed range of 700-800 km s-1 and a density, scaled to 1 AU, averaging 3 cm-3. Latitudinal gradients in solar wind fluid parameters generally support previous findings, with the gradient in wind speed offset by a gradient in density such that mass and momentum flux vary relatively little.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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