What is it about?

A new model of electric energization of the Solar Wind is presented. The electric fields arise from a total Solar charge of 460. Coulombs, mainly resident in the outer plasma sheath. The amount of charge is uniquely determined by a novel "virial" relation between gravitational and electric energies. The model gives quantitative agreement with the maximal proton energy observed by the Ulysses satellite, over 15 years and a wide range of ecliptic latitudes.

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Why is it important?

The Solar Wind is the "mild" regime of Space Weather, impinging on Earth and causing the Aurora Borealis. The more extreme form of these Solar mass emissions can cause disruption of Earth satellite operations, and even our power grids. Thus, one of the NASA/ESA big questions is "What heats the Solar Corona and eneregizes the Solar Wind ?" The new electric model provides an energy basis for a wide range of observed Solar surface effects and emissions.


The new theory goes beyond the restricted perspective of Magneto-Hydro-Dynamics, which assumes that there can be no electric charge effects "out there". This, despite the prevalence of electric charge effects in all aspects of physics and geophysics.

Charles Fredrick Driscoll
University of California San Diego

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The electric fields and “lightning jets” of the Sun and solar wind, Physics of Plasmas, October 2023, American Institute of Physics,
DOI: 10.1063/5.0139215.
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