Magnetic flux balance in the heliosphere
Understanding the evolution of magnetic flux in the heliosphere remains an unresolved issue. The current solar minimum between cycles 23 and 24 is anomalously long, which gives rare insight into the long-term evolution of heliospheric magnetic flux when the coronal mass ejection (CME) rate and the flux emergence rate from CMEs were very low. The precipitous drop of heliospheric magnetic flux to levels lower than have ever been observed directly shows that there may be a persistent loss of open magnetic flux through disconnection, the reconnection between opposite polarity heliospheric magnetic field lines relatively near the Sun (beneath the Alfven point). Here, we develop a model for the levels of magnetic flux in the inner heliosphere balancing new flux injected by CMEs, flux lost through disconnection, and closed flux lost through interchange reconnection near the Sun. This magnetic flux balance is a fundamental property that regulates the plasma and radiation environment of our solar system.
Astrophysical Journal Letters
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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Schwadron, Nathan A.; Connick, D. E.; and Smith, Charles W., "Magnetic flux balance in the heliosphere" (2010). Astrophysical Journal Letters. 32.
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