, Volume 109, Issue 1, pp 91-105

The mean coronal magnetic field determined from HELIOS Faraday rotation measurements

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Abstract

Coronal Faraday rotation of the linearly polarized carrier signals of the HELIOS spacecraft was recorded during the regularly occurring solar occultations over almost a complete solar cycle from 1975 to 1984. These measurements are used to determine the average strength and radial variation of the coronal magnetic field at solar minimum at solar distances from 3–10 solar radii, i.e., the range over which the complex fields at the coronal base are transformed into the interplanetary spiral. The mean coronal magnetic field in 1975–1976 was found to decrease with radial distance according to r −α, where α = 2.7 ± 0.2. The mean field magnitude was 1.0 ± 0.5 × 10 −5 tesla at a nominal solar distance of 5 solar radii. Possibly higher magnetic field strengths were indicated at solar maximum, but a lack of data prevented a statistical determination of the mean coronal field during this epoch.