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Observation and analysis of abrupt changes in the interplanetary plasma velocity and magnetic field.This paper presents a limited study of the physical nature of abrupt changes in the interplanetary plasma velocity and magnetic field based on 19 day's data from the Pioneer 6 spacecraft. The period was chosen to include a high-velocity solar wind stream and low-velocity wind. Abrupt events were accepted for study if the sum of the energy density in the magnetic field and velocity changes was above a specified minimum. A statistical analysis of the events in the high-velocity solar wind stream shows that Alfvenic changes predominate. This conclusion is independent of whether steady state requirements are imposed on conditions before and after the event. Alfvenic changes do not dominate in the lower-speed wind. This study extends the plasma field evidence for outwardly propagating Alfvenic changes to time scales as small as 1 min (scale lengths on the order of 20,000 km).
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Martin, R. N.
Belcher, J. W.
Lazarus, A. J.
(MIT Cambridge, Mass., United States)
Date Acquired
August 7, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 1973
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 78
Subject Category
Space Sciences
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