Magnetohydrodynamic modeling of the solar corona during Whole Sun Month

J. A. Linker, Z. Kimic, D. A. Biesecker, R. J. Forsyth, S. E. Gibson, A. J. Lazarus, A. Lecinski, P. Riley, A. Szabo, B. J. Thompson

Science Applications Int. Corp., San Diego, CA


The Whole Sun Month campaign (August 10 to September 8, 1996) brought together a wide range of space-based and ground-based observations of the Sun and the interplanetary medium during solar minimum. The wealth of data collected provides a unique opportunity for testing coronal models. We develop a three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) model of the solar corona (from 1 to 30 solar radii) applicable to the WSM time period, using measurements of the photospheric magnetic field as boundary conditions for the calculation. We compare results from the computation with daily and synoptic white-light and emission images obtained from ground-based observations and the SOHO spacecraft and with solar wind measurements from the Ulysses and WIND spacecraft. The results from the MHD computation show good overall agreement with coronal and interplanetary structures, including the position and shape of the streamer belt, coronal hole boundaries, and the heliospheric current sheet. From the model, we can infer the source locations of solar wind properties measured in interplanetary space. We find that the slow solar wind typically maps back to near the coronal hole boundary, while the fast solar wind maps to regions deeper within the coronal holes. Quantitative disagreements between the MHD model and observations for individual features observed during Whole Sun Month give insights into possible improvements to the model.

J. Geophys. Res. - Space Physics, 104, A5, 9809-9830, 1999