Sun  ID: 2856

Model of the Heliosphere Over the Solar Cycle

This magnetohydrodynamical (MHD) model shows how the heliosphere of the Sun might interact with the local interstellar medium (ISM) over the course of a single 11 year solar cycle. The sun (and the orbit of the Earth) is located in the tiny blue region in the center. The ISM is moving from left to right. The solar wind varies from 400 km/s up to 566 km/s and back down to 400 km/s over the cycle in this particular model. The colors are logarithmically scaled to represent temperature, with blue around 10,000 Kelvins (in the undisturbed ISM and the region immediately around the Sun) and red over 1,000,000 Kelvins (corresponding to the bow shocked region in the plasma). The green region around the Sun has a radius that varies between 100-200 Astronomical Units.

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Visualization Credits

Tom Bridgman (GST): Lead Animator
Hans-Reinhard Mueller (Dartmouth College): Scientist
William Steigerwald (NASA/GSFC): Writer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Science Paper:
G.P. Zank and H.-R. Mueller, Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics 108, 1240 (2003)

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This item is part of this series:
Voyager and the Heliopause

Goddard TV Tape:

SVS >> Heliosphere
SVS >> Magnetohydrodynamics
SVS >> Solar Cycle
SVS >> Solar Wind
DLESE >> Space science
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions
SVS >> Interstellar Medium
SVS >> For Educators
NASA Science >> Sun

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version