PerspectiveSolar Physics

The Day the Solar Wind Almost Disappeared

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Science  24 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5461, pp. 2172-2173
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5461.2172

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On 11 May 1999, the flux of the solar wind, which carries charged particles away from the sun, decreased to very low values for an unusually long time. In this Perspective, Lazarus recounts the discussions of this event at a recent meeting. The reasons for low-density solar wind periods are not known, but detailed observations of its interactions with Earth's magnetic field were obtained. The event also provided an opportunity to obtain fundamental insights into the solar corona where the solar wind originates.