Density of discontinuities in the heliosphere

G. Erdos, A. Balogh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


The spatial distribution of MHD discontinuities in the solar wind has been studied, based on the long time observations by the magnetometer onboard Ulysses. We emphasize the critical importance of the method whereby events are selected; some previous work is critically reviewed in this respect. Our analysis supports earlier observations that the density of discontinuities decreases with increasing distance from the Sun. It is suggested, however, that the distribution of the discontinuity normals should be revised, retaining only those discontinuities for further study that have reliable normals. This study shows that the vast majority of well defined discontinuities has a small magnetic field component parallel to the discontinuity normal. Given the large number of discontinuities in the Ulysses data set there is a statistically sufficient number for further study. It is also shown in this paper that for the subset of well defined discontinuities the determination of the normal vector using Minimum Variance Analysis and the cross-product technique are equally valid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-296
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2008



  • Discontinuities
  • Heliosphere
  • Magnetic field
  • Space plasma physics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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