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The source of the wind
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The source of the wind
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  the fast and slow solar winds

the fast and slow solar winds

 

So far, we've talked about the solar wind which travels at around 800 km/s. Strictly speaking, we should have called this the fast solar wind because there is also a slow solar wind.

 

What do we mean by slow? Well, the slow solar wind travels at "only" 400 km/s, so that journey from London to New York would take a whole 14 seconds instead of the 7 seconds the faster wind would take.

 
 

Here is a beautiful photo of a streamer.

Do we know where the slow solar wind comes from?

 

Actually we argue a lot about where the slow solar wind comes from. Quite a few people think that it comes from coronal streamers. These are bright regions in the Sun's corona that often look like pointed hats. mouse over arrow You can see them in this picture taken during an eclipse.

 

 

Different people have different ideas and they often don't agree with each other. They argue with each other using evidence for their case (theories), just like a trial in a court. Eventually a theory, or an explanation, wins because the evidence is so overwhelming and convinces the majority of scientists. This can make science exciting, but it can also get a bit vicious at times!

 

 

 

     

To find out where the solar wind goes next, follow the trail to Tim’s section on the solar wind in the Sun Earth connection section

   

 

   
 
 

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