The Dynamics of Coronal-Hole Boundaries

Tuesday, 15 December 2015: 17:33
2011 (Moscone West)
Aleida Katherine Higginson1, Spiro K Antiochos2, C Richard DeVore2, Peter Fraser Wyper3 and Thomas Zurbuchen1, (1)University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI, United States, (2)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (3)Oak Ridge Associated Universities Inc., Oak Ridge, TN, United States
The source of the slow solar wind at the Sun is the subject of intense debate in solar and heliospheric physics. Because the majority of the solar wind observed at Earth is slow wind, understanding its origin is essential for understanding and predicting Earth’s space weather environment. In-situ and remote observations show that, compared to the fast wind, the slow solar wind corresponds to higher freeze-in temperatures, as indicated by charge-state ratios, and more corona-like elemental abundances. These results indicate that the most likely source for the slow wind is the hot plasma in the closed-field corona; however, the release mechanism for the wind from the closed-field regions is far from understood. Here we present the first fully dynamic, 3D MHD simulations of a coronal-hole boundary driven by photospheric convective flows. We determine in detail the opening and closing of coronal flux due to photospheric motions at the base of a helmet streamer. These changes should lead to the release of plasma from the closed magnetic field at the edge of the streamer. Our analysis demonstrates that the bulk of the release is due to interchange reconnection. We calculate the effective of numerical Lundquist number on the dynamics and discuss the implications of our results for theories of slow-wind origin, in particular the S-Web model. We also discuss the implications of our results for observations, in particular from the upcoming Solar Orbiter and Solar Probe Plus missions.

This work was supported by the NASA SR&T and TR&T Programs.