THE VARYING MULTIPOLAR STRUCTURE OF THE SUN'S MAGNETIC FIELD AND THE EVOLUTION OF THE SOLAR MAGNETOSPHERE THROUGH THE SOLAR CYCLE


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Abstract

The Sun's magnetic field extends far from the photosphere, into the corona, defining a magnetically dominated region before being drawn out radially by the solar wind flow. This region, where the internal sources of the solar field dominate the plasma structures and the energetic particle movement, can be properly considered the solar magnetosphere. The magnetic field in this region can be approximately described by models that extrapolate photospheric magnetic field observations under some simplifying assumptions. In this paper we use a potential field model which describes the solar field up to a source surface at 3.25 Rs, where the field is constrained to become radial. We present the variation of the magnitude and inclination of the various multipolar components throughout the solar magnetic cycle that characterise the changes in the structure of the solar magnetosphere over a period of 22 years. We also present some 3-D images of the coronal magnetic structure to show the global evolution of the solar magnetosphere throughout the solar cycle and discuss the importance of taking this structure into account in order to relate interplanetary and solar features.

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