What is Solar wind: Definition and 42 Discussions

The solar wind is a stream of charged particles released from the upper atmosphere of the Sun, called the corona. This plasma mostly consists of electrons, protons and alpha particles with kinetic energy between 0.5 and 10 keV. The composition of the solar wind plasma also includes a mixture of materials found in the solar plasma: trace amounts of heavy ions and atomic nuclei such as C, N, O, Ne, Mg, Si, S, and Fe. There are also rarer traces of some other nuclei and isotopes such as P, Ti, Cr, Fe 54 and 56, and Ni 58, 60, and 62. Embedded within the solar-wind plasma is the interplanetary magnetic field. The solar wind varies in density, temperature and speed over time and over solar latitude and longitude. Its particles can escape the Sun's gravity because of their high energy resulting from the high temperature of the corona, which in turn is a result of the coronal magnetic field.
At a distance of more than a few solar radii from the Sun, the solar wind reaches speeds of 250–750 km/s and is supersonic, meaning it moves faster than the speed of the fast magnetosonic wave. The flow of the solar wind is no longer supersonic at the termination shock. Other related phenomena include the aurora (northern and southern lights), the plasma tails of comets that always point away from the Sun, and geomagnetic storms that can change the direction of magnetic field lines.

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  1. K

    Calculate magnetic dipole of other planets relative to the Earth

    So I have a few questions regarding the above task. I will use this equation to get the results for the different planets: Questions: So in the equation density p= mass of proton x proton density of the solar wind x 1000 000 (conversion between kgcm^-3 to kgm^-3) x 1/r^2 (I assume that I...
  2. K

    B How the Earth's Magnetic field deflects the solar wind

    On a previous thread (now locked) I was wondering about how, precisely, the Earth's magnetic field protects us from the solar wind. Posting this here because what I wrote in that thread is very wrong, and I think it's an interesting topic. I had a hell of a time finding good information. I...
  3. jovanovic_oliver

    B Understanding the Mass of Solar Wind and its Impact on Earth's Surface

    According to wiki sources "The average mass ejected is 1.6×1012 kg" I would like to know, what part of that falls to surface of the Earth?
  4. Ennio

    I Solar wind velocity and corrections

    Greetings, how do - the velocity distribution of the solar wind at 1 AU - the velocity distribution of the solar wind in our line of sight look like? I have found the 400 Km/sec but no further information. Is it an average values? Is this radially on the sun the same? Links with graphs are...
  5. T

    Why does the solar wind follow magnetic field lines?

    My physics teacher said that the northern lights are the product of charged particles coming from the sun and interactign with our atmosphere. I believe he said that these are deflected by Earth's magnetic field and directed towards the North and South poles. When I look at pictures on this...
  6. R

    I How does the solar wind affect power grids?

    I'm reading about solar wind and the effects it has on Earth. The charged particles from the solar wind have the potential to affect power grids which can cause outages. I know that it is related to electromagnetism, but how exactly does this happen?
  7. Solomei

    Why do Aurora colors in a bottle resemble Aurora Australis?

    I would say that this looks more like Aurora Australis. What is the reason for these changing colors? https://www.space.com/22594-aurora-bottle-northern-lights-show.html
  8. P

    How does the solar wind affect Earth's atmosphere?

    In the past many of us have read Mr Faraday calculated the “weight” of photon’s striking the surface of the Earth per acre at something like 4 and ½ ounces. Today, frequently we hear stories on the subject of the Sun's solar wind and how it is tearing away the Martian atmosphere and even...
  9. B

    A Is Solar Wind Formed by Planetary Resonance and Solar Cycles?

    so the solar wind is the result of resonance of orbiting planets, and solar cycles too, after this paper [Link to crackpot paper deleted]
  10. J

    Integrating the solar wind equation

    Hi, eveyone have been struggling to do this problem for a long time now, figured it is something very simple I am missing so thought I should ask here. 1. Homework Statement Parker's solar wind equation is given after some manipulation as: (v - (Cs2 / v) dv/dr = 2 (Cs2 / r2) (r - rc ) where...
  11. A

    I Pluto's interaction with solar wind

    Do you think that new discoveries about how Pluto interacts with the solar wind suggests that Pluto should be reclassified as a planet?
  12. J

    Has Anyone Experienced Challenges with the Weber-Davis Solar Wind Model?

    Hi, I was wondering if anyone here had any experience (preferably intimate) with the Weber-Davis solar wind model, i.e. ...
  13. Dotini

    Solar Wind Modulates Lightning - Mechanism Unknown

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/9/5/055004/article http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-27406358# Activity on the Sun is sparking lightning strikes here on Earth, a study suggests. The finding was surprising, said Dr Scott, because it had been thought that an increase in the...
  14. S

    What is the Relationship Between Solar Wind and Kinetic Energy?

    Homework Statement At what rate does the solar wind carry kinetic energy away from the sun? Give your result first in watts, then as a fraction of the Sun's luminosity in photons, L=3.8*10^26 W Homework Equations KE=(1/2)mv^2 mass loss of sun- Msunloss=4πr2vρ The Attempt at a...
  15. S

    How does solar wind effects Geomagnetic Field?

    Solar winds contain plasma, which are charged particles and carry Sun's magnetic field orientation, when those solar wind hits toward Earth, does anyone have any suggestions on how those plasma affects on Earth's magnetic field? and how this energy converts into different forms on Earth? Does...
  16. R

    Solar and geomagnetic field interaction with or without solar wind

    The usual story is that after a solar flair (coronal mass ejection) towards the Earth the Earth's magnetic field gets strongly deformed. It usually takes a few days from the solar event to when the Earth is impacted. But I wonder if there is also a direct interaction: If there is drastic...
  17. J

    Can Astronaut survive within solar wind?

    Solar wind contains ion charges and electromagnetic field, will Solar wind affect action potential within Astronaut's nerve system? Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks in advance for any suggestions
  18. D

    Investigating the Magnus Effect on Solar Wind

    I can't find authorative sources on whether the magnus effect works on the solar wind. I thought the solar wind was mostly particles, not a fluid medium, and therefore it would not. I thought this was the reason for the flat nature of solar sails. If the solar wind acted like a fluid medium...
  19. J

    If the moon was vapourised, would it recondense or get blown away by solar wind?

    If the moon was vapourised, would it first recondense or get blown away by solar wind?
  20. J

    Space Physics (sun and solar wind) problem

    Homework Statement If, (average solar wind properties at Earth's orbit) Proton density = 7 cm^-3 flow speed=400km/s almost radial electron density=7.5 cm^-3, proton temp=2*10^5 Kelvin He^2+ density= .25 cm^-3 electron temp=1*10^5 Kelvin Magnetic field=7nT Find flux through sphere and flux...
  21. J

    Solar wind interaction with Earth's magnetic field

    I'm currently doing a project on how the solar wind interacts with the Earth's magnetic field, but I'm having a hard time grasping the concept of the plasma emitted by the Sun and how it shapes the Earth's magnetic field. I read somewhere about a simple mirror dipole approximation (I'm guessing...
  22. Dotini

    Alfven Waves Drive Coronal Heat + Solar Wind

    One of the all-time great science mysteries is now a step closer to explanation. The surface of the sun, known as the photosphere, can reach temperatures of 5,000 degrees. To many it would seem logical that the temperature would lower further away from the sun. But, the outer atmosphere, known...
  23. C

    How much energy is in the solar wind plus

    I have wondered lately about the amount of energy which interacts with the Earth's magnetic field. Further, to the extent not converted to light as with the auroras, what happens to it in the interaction? If the energy is significant, is it in any way absorbed, transferred or otherwise lead to...
  24. S

    Solar wind interfering with satellite communications

    Hello. I was wondering about something the last few weeks and that is if the solar wind can affect communication systems between satellites. I am not referring to the physical damage that the solar wind might produce to the satellite, but the interference it might have on the radio signal that...
  25. T

    Solar wind electricity generation

    hi friends, i came across this piece of news... "Until 2010, no solar sails had been successfully used in space as primary propulsion systems. On 21 May 2010, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the “IKAROS” (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun)...
  26. T

    Confirming Solar Wind & X-Ray Flux Effects on Earth's Magnetic Field

    This is more of a confirmation that I got the facts right: Reading around, I found out that the solar wind travels from the Sun to the Earth at a mean speed of 400km/s. Does this mean that it takes around 4 days for a burst of solar wind to cause disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field...
  27. M

    Could Solar Wind Be the Source of Dark Matter?

    It seems to me that an obvious source of dark matter (and possibly dark energy) might be the massive ejections of spent fuel from our sun in the form of the solar wind. If our sun regularly ejects spent fuel in the form of the solar wind, it follows that the same process must happen in billions...
  28. Philosophaie

    May 10-12 1999 The Day the Solar Wind Disappeared

    On May 10-12 1999 it has been stated in a website that the Solar Wind Disappeared. It stated that 98% of the total solar wind stopped but the piciures of the the SOHO satellite looked normal. Is this true or a crackpot site? The polar borialis was said to be strange and a phenonema of...
  29. J

    Magnetic field solar wind question

    The solar wind is a thin, hot gas given off by the sun. Charged particles in this gas enter the magnetic field of the Earth and can experience a magnetic force. Suppose a charged particle traveling with a speed of 8.20 106 m/s encounters the Earth's magnetic field at an altitude where the field...
  30. L

    Calculating Solar Wind Density at Jupiter: Formula and Assumptions Explained"

    Homework Statement I'm trying to solve a problem related to the solar wind pressure at Jupiter but I'm stuck at calculating the density. It is stated that the solar wind has a density of 5 [itex]cm^{-3}[/tex] and a speed of 400 km/s at the orbit of the Earth, and that it should be assumed...
  31. Ranger Mike

    Solar Wind and Its Impact on Planets

    The solar wind is a stream of charged particles plasma—ejected from the upper atmosphere of the sun. It consists mostly of electrons and protons with energies of about 1 keV. These particles are able to escape the sun's “gravity”, in part because of the high temperature of the corona..so i have...
  32. S

    Protecting Craft from Solar Wind: How Far Does Our Magnetic Field Reach?

    In my astronomy class we have been talking about the solar wind, and how during the solar maximum when the activity is high the solar wind increases and can penetrate into the magnetic field more. This penetration can disturb satellites and even some things that are on the Earth's surface. So...
  33. M

    Understanding the acceleration of solar wind particles

    I would like to understand the "standard" explanation for the acceleration of solar wind particles as they leave the solar surface. Could someone help me out? I'm specifically interested in explaining this sort of image from the European Space Agency...
  34. S

    Solar Wind Flux: Electron/Proton Count Reaching Earth

    can anyone give me the flux of solar wind reaching earth...the number of electrons/protons /cm^2/sec reaching Earth from Sun...i searched many sites but couldn't get the value...
  35. B

    Solar Wind Power: Can We Collect & Store?

    Is there enough power coming from solar wind to some how collect and store as energy.
  36. N

    How Does the Solar Wind Impact Earth's Magnetosphere?

    Hi Group, Just wanted to find out : The solar wind particles are electrically charged and arrive at the earth with great speed, then get trapped by the magnetic field in the magnetosphere envelope round the Earth. Right...:biggrin: Now, what about quantity? please can you guys...
  37. D

    Solar wind + Weak magnetic field = No water?

    Is it possible that one day, the Earth magnetic field get so weaken that solar wind could strip off water from earth? I ask this because of this article which leads me to draw the parallel. http://www.geotimes.org/sept04/NN_solarstorms.html
  38. P

    Acceleration due to the solar wind

    Does anyone know where I can find the magnitude of the force exerted by the solar wind? It's for a jackson problem (6.11, part b). He asks us to compare the radiation pressure to the corpuscular radiation. I've googled it and only found the velocity of said wind.
  39. M

    Would a Nearby Supernova Disrupt the Solar Wind and Cause Earthquakes?

    Suppose there were a nearby supernova, say 10 to 20 lightyears away. It's not close enough to incenerate the earth. Would such an event cause the solar wind to become swept away? If so, would there come a great earthquake as the wave went by the earth? I suppose that the gravity of such a wave...
  40. N

    Solar Wind: What Is It & Its Effect on Earth

    what is solar wind? is it carrying particles? what is its effect to our planet,the Earth?
  41. S

    How do solar wind particles get trapped in a planet's magnetosphere?

    How do solar wind particles get trapped in a planet's magnetosphere? The particles travel along the Sun's magnetic field lines, right? And then they switch to traveling along the planet's field lines? How? When they get trapped, are they still supersonic? Is it correct to say that...
  42. M

    Windmill in Space: Solar Wind Power Output Analysis

    How fast could a space based windmill turn when driven by the solar wind? Would such a device produce more or less energy than a solar panel of the same cost?