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Space Science Reviews

, Volume 39, Issue 3–4, pp 255–316 | Cite as

MHD processes in the outer heliosphere

  • L. F. Burlaga
Article

Conclusion

Much has been learned about the structure and dynamics of the outer heliosphere during the last decade as a result observations from the Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft. The large scale of the observations forces one to consider the heliosphere from a new perspective, to think of new dynamical processes, and to introduce new concepts. The early studies of isolated gas dynamic flows must be replaced by MHD dynamics of interacting flows and flow systems. The simple deterministic models that have been dominant in early studies of the solar wind are now seen to have limited applicability, and statistical approaches are being developed. New concepts that have been introduced, such as inverse cascades, filtering, entrainment, etc., must be further explored and clarified, to make them more precise and quantitative. MHD turbulence is probably very important in solar wind dynamics, but the subject is poorly developed from a theoretical point of view. The statistical analysis of solar wind parameters has scarcely begun, but it is clearly necessary for an understanding of complex, large-scale flows. The multitude of possible interactions among shocks and flows of various types needs to be explored systematically with observations, models and analytical theory. Voyagers 1 and 2 and Pioneers 10 and 11 are continuing to move through the outer heliosphere and gather data. The lengthy data reduction procedures require even more care in dealing with the low field strengths, densities and temperatures at large heliocentric distances, and the analysis of the complex flows and fields in the outer heliosphere becomes increasingly difficult. Thus one can expect continued growth of our knowledge of the heliosphere, but comprehensive understanding of the data will take some time. If this review stimulates the specialists in solar wind physics to think critically about the results presented and to remedy the deficiencies of current knowledge of the heliosphere, then it will have served its purpose. It is also hoped that this review will serve to encourage specialists in other fields to bring their talents to bear on heliospheric problems and to transfer results of heliospheric physics to their fields.

Keywords

Solar Wind Deterministic Model Reduction Procedure Heliocentric Distance Solar Wind Parameter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. F. Burlaga
    • 1
  1. 1.NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Laboratory for Extraterrestrial PhysicsGreenbeltU.S.A.

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