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Solar wind speed and coronal flux-tube expansion
Wang, Y.-M.; Sheeley, N. R., Jr.
AA(U.S. Navy, E. O. Hulburt Center for Space Research, Washington, DC), AB(U.S. Navy, E. O. Hulburt Center for Space Research, Washington, DC)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 355, June 1, 1990, p. 726-732. Research supported by the U.S. Navy. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
Solar Physics
NASA/STI Keywords:
Magnetic Flux, Solar Corona, Solar Wind Velocity, Current Sheets, Magnetohydrodynamics, Photosphere, Solar Magnetic Field
Bibliographic Code:


The hypothesis that the solar wind speed at 1 AU and the rate of magnetic flux-tube expansion in the corona are inversely correlated is shown to be consistent with observations extending over the last 22 years. This empirical relationship allows the daily wind speeds at earth to be predicted from a current-free extrapolation of the observed photospheric field into the corona. The narrow boundaries of high-speed wind streams are attributed to steep gradients in the flux-tube expansion rates at the edges of coronal holes. When a heliospheric current sheet is included in the model, it is found that the flux tubes near the hole axis, although diverging more slowly than those near the hole boundary in the corona, have undergone the greatest net expansion at 1 AU, an effect consistent with the low densities within high-speed streams.

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