The solar wind from a stellar perspective. How do low-resolution data impact the determination of wind properties? - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A Year : 2020

The solar wind from a stellar perspective. How do low-resolution data impact the determination of wind properties?

S. Boro Saikia
  • Function : Author
M. Jin
  • Function : Author
C. P. Johnstone
  • Function : Author
T. Lüftinger
  • Function : Author
M. Güdel
  • Function : Author
V. S. Airapetian
  • Function : Author
K. G. Kislyakova
  • Function : Author


Context. Due to the effects that they can have on the atmospheres of exoplanets, stellar winds have recently received significant attention in the literature. Alfvén-wave-driven 3D magnetohydrodynamic models, which are increasingly used to predict stellar wind properties, contain unconstrained parameters and rely on low-resolution stellar magnetograms.
Aims: In this paper, we explore the effects of the input Alfvén wave energy flux and the surface magnetogram on the wind properties predicted by the Alfvén Wave Solar Model (AWSoM) model for both the solar and stellar winds.
Methods: We lowered the resolution of two solar magnetograms during solar cycle maximum and minimum using spherical harmonic decomposition. The Alfvén wave energy was altered based on non-thermal velocities determined from a far ultraviolet spectrum of the solar twin 18 Sco. Additionally, low-resolution magnetograms of three solar analogues, 18 Sco, HD 76151, and HN Peg, were obtained using Zeeman Doppler imaging and used as a proxy for the solar magnetogram. Finally, the simulated wind properties were compared to Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) observations.
Results: AWSoM simulations using well constrained input parameters taken from solar observations can reproduce the observed solar wind mass loss and angular momentum loss rates. The simulated wind velocity, proton density, and ram pressure differ from ACE observations by a factor of approximately two. The resolution of the magnetogram has a small impact on the wind properties and only during cycle maximum. However, variation in Alfvén wave energy influences the wind properties irrespective of the solar cycle activity level. Furthermore, solar wind simulations carried out using the low-resolution magnetogram of the three stars instead of the solar magnetogram could lead to an order of a magnitude difference in the simulated solar wind properties.
Conclusions: The choice in Alfvén energy has a stronger influence on the wind output compared to the magnetogram resolution. The influence could be even stronger for stars whose input boundary conditions are not as well constrained as those of the Sun. Unsurprisingly, replacing the solar magnetogram with a stellar magnetogram could lead to completely inaccurate solar wind properties, and should be avoided in solar and stellar wind simulations. Further observational and theoretical work is needed to fully understand the complexity of solar and stellar winds.
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Dates and versions

insu-03673168 , version 1 (20-05-2022)



S. Boro Saikia, M. Jin, C. P. Johnstone, T. Lüftinger, M. Güdel, et al.. The solar wind from a stellar perspective. How do low-resolution data impact the determination of wind properties?. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, 2020, 635, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201937107⟩. ⟨insu-03673168⟩
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