Corotating Interaction Regions at High Latitudes

Queen Mary and Westfield College London United Kingdom London United Kingdom
Space Science Reviews (Impact Factor: 6.28). 01/1999; 89(1-2). DOI: 10.1023/A:1005218010508
Source: OAI


Ulysses observed a stable strong CIR from early 1992 through 1994 during its first journey into the southern hemisphere. After the rapid latitude scan in early 1995, Ulysses observed a weaker CIR from early 1996 to mid-1997 in the northern hemisphere as it traveled back to the ecliptic at the orbit of Jupiter. These two CIRs are the observational basis of the investigation into the latitudinal structure of CIRs. The first CIR was caused by an extension of the northern coronal hole into the southern hemisphere during declining solar activity, whereas the second CIR near solar minimum activity was caused by small warps in the streamer belt. The latitudinal structure is described through the presentation of three 26-day periods during the southern CIR. The first at ∼24°S shows the full plasma interaction region including fast and slow wind streams, the compressed shocked flows with embedded stream interface and heliospheric current sheet (HCS), and the forward and reverse shocks with associated accelerated ions and electrons. The second at 40°S exhibits only the reverse shock, accelerated particles, and the 26-day modulation of cosmic rays. The third at 60°S shows only the accelerated particles and modulated cosmic rays. The possible mechanisms for the access of the accelerated particles and the CIR-modulated cosmic rays to high latitudes above the plasma interaction region are presented. They include direct magnetic field connection across latitude due to stochastic field line weaving or to systematic weaving caused by solar differential rotation combined with non-radial expansion of the fast wind. Another possible mechanism is particle diffusion across the average magnetic field, which includes stochastic field line weaving. A constraint on connection to a distant portion of the CIR is energy loss in the solar wind, which is substantial for the relatively slow-moving accelerated ions. Finally, the weaker northern CIR is compared with the southern CIR. It is weak because the inclination of the streamer belt and HCS decreased as Ulysses traveled to lower latitudes so that the spacecraft remained at about the maximum latitudinal extent of the HCS. Peer Reviewed

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    • "Such regions of interaction, termed Corotating Interaction Regions (CIRs) if they exhibit a recurrence with the solar rotation period, form on the eastern boundary of the slow solar wind (streamer) belt. [3] The evolution of CIRs is reasonably well understood following numerical work [Pizzo and Gosling, 1994], and a wealth of in-situ observations [Crooker et al., 1999; Kunow et al., 1999, and references therein]. Neither the latitudinal, longitudinal nor the radial evolution of a CIR can be determined continuously from in-situ single spacecraft observations. "
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    ABSTRACT: Plasma parcels are observed propagating from the Sun out to the large coronal heights monitored by the Heliospheric Imagers (HI) instruments onboard the NASA STEREO spacecraft during September 2007. The source region of these out-flowing parcels is found to corotate with the Sun and to be rooted near the western boundary of an equatorial coronal hole. These plasma enhancements evolve during their propagation through the HI cameras' fields of view and only becoming fully developed in the outer camera field of view. We provide evidence that HI is observing the formation of a Corotating Interaction Region (CIR) where fast solar wind from the equatorial coronal hole is interacting with the slow solar wind of the streamer belt located on the western edge of that coronal hole. A dense plasma parcel is also observed near the footpoint of the observed CIR at a distance less than 0.1AU from the Sun where fast wind would have not had time to catch up slow wind. We suggest that this low-lying plasma enhancement is a plasma parcel which has been disconnected from a helmet streamer and subsequently becomes embedded inside the corotating interaction region.
    Full-text · Article · May 2008
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    ABSTRACT: We present an overview of the properties of magnetohydrodynamic turbulence within corotating interaction regions (CIRs) and its effects on energetic particles. We stress the importance of both the population of fluctuations in the inner heliosphere and the changing local environment in determining their properties at larger heliospheric distances. We present observations from two typical CIRs, one at 0.3 AU before compression regions have formed and the other well developed at 5.1 AU, and discuss the properties of fluctuations within them and show that it is possible to distinguish different regions of the CIR on the basis of the turbulence itself. The strength of the turbulence varies strongly within and close to the CIRs, explaining changes in the mean free path of energetic particles of several orders of magnitude with implications for the modulation of cosmic rays and for diffusive acceleration of particles. The mechanisms by which turbulent fluctuations within interaction regions scatter energetic particles are briefly discussed on a theoretical basis.
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