Volume 649, May 2021
|Number of page(s)||20|
|Section||The Sun and the Heliosphere|
|Published online||13 May 2021|
Properties of stream interaction regions at Earth and Mars during the declining phase of SC 24
University of Graz, Institute of Physics, Graz, Austria
2 School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, PR China
3 CAS Center for Excellence in Comparative Planetology, Hefei, PR China
4 Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Accepted: 8 February 2021
Aims. We inspect the evolution of stream interaction regions (SIRs) from Earth to Mars, covering the distance range 1–1.5 AU, over the declining phase of solar cycle 24 (2014–2018). So far, studies only analyzed SIRs measured at Earth and Mars at different times. We compare existing catalogs for both heliospheric distances and arrive at a clean dataset for the identical time range. This allows a well-sampled statistical analysis and for the opposition phases of the planets an in-depth analysis of SIRs as they evolve with distance.
Methods. We use in situ solar wind data from OMNI and the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN spacecraft as well as remote sensing data from Solar Dynamics Observatory. A superposed epoch analysis is performed for bulk speed, proton density, temperature, magnetic field magnitude and total perpendicular pressure. Additionally, a study of events during the two opposition phases of Earth and Mars in the years 2016 and 2018 is conducted. SIR related coronal holes with their area as well as their latitudinal and longitudinal extent are extracted and correlated to the maximum bulk speed and duration of the corresponding high speed solar wind streams following the stream interaction regions.
Results. We find that while the entire solar wind high speed stream shows no expansion as it evolves from Earth to Mars, the crest of the high speed stream profile broadens by about 17%, and the magnetic field and total pressure by about 45% around the stream interface. The difference between the maximum and minimum values in the normalized superposed profiles increases slightly or stagnates from 1–1.5 AU for all parameters, except for the temperature. A sharp drop at zero epoch time is observed in the superposed profiles for the magnetic field strength at both heliospheric distances. The two opposition phases reveal similar correlations of in situ data with coronal hole parameters for both planets. Maximum solar wind speed has a stronger dependence on the latitudinal extent of the respective coronal hole than on its longitudinal extent. We arrive at an occurrence rate of fast forward shocks three times higher at Mars than at Earth.
Key words: solar wind / solar-terrestrial relations / Sun: heliosphere
© ESO 2021
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