Sun  ID: 4788

The Solar Polar Magnetic Field

From our single vantage point of Earth, our view of the Sun is never complete. While the far-side of the Sun eventually rotates into view, coverage of the Sun's polar regions is never satisfactory as perspective effects either completely block our view or create a distorted view. We must often resort to computer modeling of these solar polar regions.

This visualization presents the Potential Field Source Surface (PFSS) magnetic field model based on solar observations covering the years 2017-2019. One version also presents the 'hole' in our measurements of the solar polar region. The region oscillates in size over the course of the year due to the changing perspective created by the tilt of Earth's orbital plane with the solar equator. In this region, researchers must resort to approximations to build a more complete view of the solar magnetic field.

Why is the solar magnetic field in this region important? Because the combined with the outgoing flow of the solar wind, the magnetic field lines from the polar regions curve up, and then back down to near the Sun's equatorial plane, which is still fairly close to the orbital plane of Earth and other planets in our solar system. This gives the Sun's polar magnetic field a significant influence on the space weather impacting Earth and crewed and uncrewed assets around the solar system.

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Visualization Credits

Tom Bridgman (GST): Lead Visualizer
Chris St. Cyr (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
William D. Pesnell (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Genna Duberstein (ADNET): Producer
Joy Ng (USRA): Lead Writer
Laurence Schuler (ADNET): Technical Support
Ian Jones (ADNET): Technical Support
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

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Solar Orbiter Collaboration

Data Used:
PFSS/Magnetic Field Lines also referred to as: PFSS
Model - NASA and ESA - 2017-01-01 to 2019-12-31
This model generated from SOHO/MDI magnetograms through the SolarSoft package.
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

SVS >> Solar Magnetic Field
NASA Science >> Sun