Using Magnetic Flux Conservation to Determine Heliosheath Speeds

J. D. Richardson, A. C. Cummings, L. F. Burlaga, J. Giacalone, M. Opher, E. C. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The heliosheath (HSH) radial speeds at Voyager 2 (V2) derived from the plasma instrument (PLS) and from particle instruments using the Compton-Getting (CG) effect are different. At V2 the CG speeds are more variable than the plasma speeds and decrease about 2 yr before the heliopause. We use magnetic flux conservation to differentiate between these two speed profiles at V2, comparing the magnetic flux observed at 1 au and in the HSH. For V2 the PLS speed profile is significantly more consistent with magnetic flux conservation than the CG speeds. For Voyager 1 (V1), we present new VR derivations from the Cosmic Ray Subsystem (CRS) using the CG method that agree reasonably well with those previously obtained from the low energy charged particle (LECP) instrument. If we use the V2 PLS speed profile to calculate the magnetic flux at V1, we again find much better agreement than if we use the V1 CG speeds. These results suggest that the radial speeds derived from particle anisotropy observations in the HSH are not reliable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL28
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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