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Can Streamer Blobs Prevent the Buildup of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field? View all abstracts by submitter

Piet Martens   Submitted: 1999-11-16 21:04

Coronal mass ejections continuously drag closed magnetic field lines away from the Sun, adding new flux to the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). We propose that the outward-moving blobs that have been observed in helmet streamers are evidence of ongoing, small-scale reconnection in streamer current sheets, which may play an important role in the prevention of an indefinite buildup of the IMF. Reconnection between two open field lines from both sides of a streamer current sheet creates a new closed field line, which becomes part of the helmet, and a disconnected field line, which moves outward. The blobs are formed by plasma from the streamer that is swept up in the trough of the outward-moving field line. We show that this mechanism is supported by observations from Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO)/Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph. Additionally, we propose a thorough statistical study to quantify the contribut- contribution of blob formation to the reduction of the IMF and indicate how this mechanism may be verified by observations with SOHO/Ultraviolet Coronagraph Spectrometer and the proposed NASA Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory and ESA Polar Orbiter missions.

Authors: M.K. van Aalst, P.C.H. Martens, and A.J.C. Belien

Publication Status: ApJL 511, L125 (1999)
Last Modified: 1999-11-16 21:04
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