Special Reports

Continuous Plasma Outflows from the Edge of a Solar Active Region as a Possible Source of Solar Wind

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Science  07 Dec 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5856, pp. 1585-1588
DOI: 10.1126/science.1147292

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The Sun continuously expels a huge amount of ionized material into interplanetary space as the solar wind. Despite its influence on the heliospheric environment, the origin of the solar wind has yet to be well identified. In this paper, we report Hinode X-ray Telescope observations of a solar active region. At the edge of the active region, located adjacent to a coronal hole, a pattern of continuous outflow of soft-x-ray–emitting plasmas was identified emanating along apparently open magnetic field lines and into the upper corona. Estimates of temperature and density for the outflowing plasmas suggest a mass loss rate that amounts to ∼1/4 of the total mass loss rate of the solar wind. These outflows may be indicative of one of the solar wind sources at the Sun.

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