The Trans-Heliospheric Survey: Radial trends in plasma parameters across the heliosphere





Citation of Original Publication

Maruca, Bennett A., Ramiz A. Qudsi, B. L. Alterman, Brian M. Walsh, Kelly E. Korreck, Daniel Verscharen, Riddhi Bandyopadhyay, et al. “The Trans-Heliospheric Survey - Radial Trends in Plasma Parameters across the Heliosphere.” Astronomy & Astrophysics 675 (July 1, 2023): A196.


This work was written as part of one of the author's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law.
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Context. Though the solar wind is characterized by spatial and temporal variability across a wide range of scales, long-term averages of in situ measurements have revealed clear radial trends: changes in average values of basic plasma parameters (e.g., density, temperature, and speed) and a magnetic field with a distance from the Sun. Aims. To establish our current understanding of the solar wind's average expansion through the heliosphere, data from multiple spacecraft needed to be combined and standardized into a single dataset. Methods. In this study, data from twelve heliospheric and planetary spacecraft - Parker Solar Probe (PSP), Helios 1 and 2, Mariner 2 and 10, Ulysses, Cassini, Pioneer 10 and 11, New Horizons, and Voyager 1 and 2 - were compiled into a dataset spanning over three orders of magnitude in heliocentric distance. To avoid introducing artifacts into this composite dataset, special attention was given to the solar cycle, spacecraft heliocentric elevation, and instrument calibration. Results. The radial trend in each parameter was found to be generally well described by a power-law fit, though up to two break points were identified in each fit. Conclusions. These radial trends are publicly released here to benefit research groups in the validation of global heliospheric simulations and in the development of new deep-space missions such as Interstellar Probe.