Small Solar Wind Transients: Stereo-A Observations in 2009


Year 2009 was the last year of a long and pronounced solar activity minimum. In this year the solar wind in the inner heliosphere was for 90% of the time slow (< 450 km s−1) and with a weaker magnetic field strength compared to the previous solar minimum 1995-1996. We choose this year to present the results of a systematic search for small solar wind transients (STs) observed by the STEREO-Ahead (ST-A) probe. The data are from the PLASTIC and IMPACT instrument suites. By "small" we mean a duration from ∼1 to 12 hours. The parameters we search for to identify STs are (i) the total field strength, (ii) the rotation of the magnetic field vector, (iii) its smoothness, (iv) proton temperature, (v) proton beta, and (vi) Alfvén Mach number. We find 45 examples. The STs have an average duration of ∼4 hours. Ensemble averages of key quantities are: (i) maximum B = 7.01 nT; (ii) proton β = 0.18; (iii) proton thermal speed = 20.8 km s−1; and (iv) Alfvén Mach number = 6.13. No distinctive feature is found in the pitch angle distributions of suprathermal electrons. Our statistical results are compared with those of STs observed near Earth by Wind during 2009.

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AIP Conference Proceedings



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