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Large-scale density structures in the outer heliosphereThe Plasma Science experiment on the Voyager 2 spacecraft has measured the solar wind density from 1 to 38 AU. Over this distance, the solar wind density decreases as the inverse square of the heliocentric distance. However, there are large variations in this density at a given radius. Such changes in density are the dominant cause of changes in the solar wind ram pressure in the outer heliosphere and can cause large perturbations in the location of the termination shock of the solar wind. Following a simple model suggested by Suess, we study the non-equilibrium, dynamic location of the termination shock as it responds to these pressure changes. The results of this study suggest that the termination shock is rarely if ever at its equilibrium distance and may depart from that distance by as much as 50 AU at times.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Belcher, J. W.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Lazarus, A. J.
(MIT Cambridge, MA, United States)
Mcnutt, R. L., Jr.
(Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Gordon, G. S., Jr.
(MIT Cambridge, MA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Advances in Space Research
Volume: 13
Issue: 6
ISSN: 0273-1177
Subject Category
Solar Physics
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits

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