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Extra resources for An Introduction to Space Weather
This gives rise to a flapping or wavy structure of the IMF. 3 shows the structure of the IMF in three dimensions. The surface shown is the location of the plasma that came from the Sun’s magnetic equator. Called the heliospheric current sheet, this divides IMF that is pointing away from the Sun from IMF pointing towards the Sun. 1 gives some properties of the solar wind and the IMF. 3 A perspective plot of the heliospheric current sheet showing the wavy nature of the interplanetary magnetic ﬁeld due to the tilt of the Sun’s magnetic axis with respect to its spin axis (from Jokipii and Thomas, 1981).
Bright areas show a Doppler blue shift indicating upward motion. Dark areas show a red shift indicating motion down into the solar interior. The bright regions are about 1000 km across (or about the size of the state of Texas in the US). The bright spots come and go with a lifetime of about 5 to 10 minutes. The bright spots are typically about 500 K hotter than the dark regions. 2 High resolution image of the photosphere showing a sunspot. The smaller features, called solar granulation, provide evidence for convection (from Friedrich Woeger, KIS, and Chris Berst and Mark Komsa, NSO/AURA/NSF).
All the sunspot pairs in a given hemisphere of the Sun have the same magnetic configuration. Specifically, when the leading spot (measured in the direction of solar rotation) has a north polarity, then all leading spots in the hemisphere will have a north polarity. What is more, all the sunspot pairs in the opposite hemisphere will have the opposite orientation (south leading). This ordering of the solar field is due to the differential rotation of the Sun. Recall that the Sun rotates faster at the equator than at the poles.