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Solar-wind predictions for the Parker Solar Probe orbit  

Malte Venzmer   Submitted: 2017-11-22 12:47

The scope of this study is to model the solar-wind environment for the Parker Solar Probe's unprecedented distances down to 9.86 Rs in its mission phase during 2018-2025. The study is performed within the CGAUSS project which is the German contribution to the PSP mission as part of the WISPR imager on PSP. We present an empirical solar-wind model for the inner heliosphere which is derived from OMNI and Helios data. The sunspot number (SSN) and its predictions are used to derive dependencies of solar-wind parameters on solar activity and to forecast them for the PSP mission. The frequency distributions for the solar-wind key parameters magnetic field strength, proton velocity, density, and temperature, are represented by lognormal functions, considering the velocity distribution's bi-componental shape. Functional relations to the SSN are compiled using OMNI data and based on data from both Helios probes, the parameters' frequency distributions are fitted with respect to solar distance. Thus, an empirical solar-wind model for the inner heliosphere is derived, accounting for solar activity and solar distance. The inclusion of SSN predictions and the extrapolation down to PSP's perihelion region enables us to estimate the solar-wind environment for PSP's planned trajectory during its mission duration. This empirical model yields estimated solar-wind values for PSP's 1st perihelion in 2018 at 0.16 au: 87 nT, 340 km s-1, 214 cm-3 and 503000 K. The estimates for PSP's first closest perihelion, occurring in 2024 at 0.046 au, are 943 nT, 290 km s-1, 2951 cm-3, and 1930000 K. Since the modeled velocity and temperature values below approximately 20 Rs appear overestimated in comparison with existing observations, this suggests that PSP will directly measure solar-wind acceleration and heating processes below 20 Rs as planned.

Authors: M. S. Venzmer, V. Bothmer
Projects: Other

Publication Status: Accepted for publication in A&A
Last Modified: 2017-11-22 13:21
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Solar-wind predictions for the Parker Solar Probe orbit

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