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The Relationship between the Solar Winds and the Interplanetary Magnetic Field By: H. Weinberger and E. Oji . What is the IMF?. Abstract. What are the Solar Winds?.

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The Relationship between the Solar Winds and the Interplanetary Magnetic Field

By: H. Weinberger and E. Oji

What is the IMF?

Abstract

What are the Solar Winds?

We analyzed data from the ACE satellite to explore the various trends between the hydrogen and helium ions in the solar winds and their relationship to the magnitude of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field. We concluded that as solar wind flux increases, the percent of hydrogen in the flux also increases. In addition, we were able to find that during certain periods of high solar flux, there was some correlation between Interplanetary Magnetic Field magnitude.

The interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) is a term used to describe the Sun’s magnetic field as it is carried by the solar wind into the space. The IMF is a vector quantity with three directional components, two of which (Bx and By) are oriented parallel to the ecliptic. The third component--Bz--is perpendicular to the ecliptic and is created by waves and other disturbances in the solar wind. The magnetic field of the Sun is produced by an electric current produced by consuming hydrogen to form helium at the interface and radioactive layers of the sun.The magnetic field produced is huge; it is about 50 Gauss and 100 times more than that of the Earth.

Everyday, Earth is bombarded by millions and millions of particles traveling through space. Scientist name these particles the “Solar Winds”. The solar winds are created by the outermost layer of the sun, the corona, ejecting highly charged H,He,C,N and trace amounts of other heavy elements into interplanetary space. In order to escape the sun’s gravitational pull, the particles must enter a high energy state also known as Plasma. Plasma forms when an ion receives enough energy that its electrons are stripped from its nucleolus. Through the sun’s hot temperature and a process not very well known to scientist, the positive and negative particles on the sun’s surface are able to acquire enough kinetic energy and become free from the sun’s gravitational pull. Due to the suns irregular activity, the solar winds often fluctuate heavily day-to-day, therefore expelling different amount of particles.

How Do they Fit Together?

The Solar Winds and Interplanetary Magnetic Field are two closely related subcategories under the topic of solar weather. The Solar winds are a term that refers to the magnetic particles that travel within the Interplanetary Magnetic Field. The magnetic field associated with the charged solar winds particles interact with the Interplanetary Magnetic Field, creating interesting observations. We are not quite sure how the particles interact, but by looking at the two graphs below, we can defiantly see some type of correlation between solar flux and IMF magnitude between the years 2001 and 2005. In future research, we hope to further understand this correlation and try to introduce the IMF direction into our calculations

How do we measure data?

Fluctuations and Relations between

particles in the solar winds

To collect data, we use the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite. This satellite, currently in orbit L1, is equipped with 6 sensors to help us predict solar weather. The sensors which we are currently are analyzing data from are MAG and ULIESIS. The data is currently available from: www.srl.caltech.edu/ACE

To left is a sample of a Hydrogen and Helium Flux (ion count) vs time graph using data collected by ACE. Notice how solar activity can fluctuate greatly day to day

The above two graphs demonstrate the tight correlation between Solar Wind Activity and Interplanetary Magnetic Field Magnitude between the year 2001 and 2004

Conclusion

The above graph shows the relationship between total solar activity and the ratio of hydrogen in solar activity. As we see, the percent of hydrogen in the solar winds directly increase as the total flux increases. This concludes that hydrogen is the main element expelled by the sun during high solar activity.

Through our research, we have concluded that due to hydrogen’s low mass, it is more prone to travel in the solar winds than heavier elements such as helium, carbon, and oxygen. Therefore, if we predict high solar activity, we can conclude that the main component will be hydrogen. Also, we have concluded that these hydrogen particles have some sort of interaction with IFM. Between the years 2001 and 2004, as well as having a high percentage of hydrogen in the solar winds, we also have a tight correlation between IMF magnitude and Solar Wind Flux

Sponsors:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)

NASA New York City Research Initiative (NYCRI)

Contributors:

Paul Marchese (PI)

E. Oji (HST)

Henry Weinberger (HSS)

Acknowledgments:

Frank Scalzo

Tak Cheung

The graph to the lefts plots Total Flux vs Individual helium and hydrogen count. The steeper slope for hydrogen represents the relative ease at which the sun accelerates hydrogen particles over the acceleration of helium particles in the solar winds

The above graph demonstrates how helium ions are indirectly proportional to solar flux. The percent of helium in the solar winds decrease as solar activity increases