Riley, Pete Predictive Science, Inc., San Diego, California.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Coronal heating and solar wind acceleration
- Ambient solar wind
- Interplanetary magnetic field
- Dynamic processes
- Time-dependent effects
- Solar cycle variations
- Outer heliosphere
- Kinetic effects
- Space weather
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A flow of completely ionized material away from the Sun. The processes that heat and accelerate the solar wind are not well understood at present. At heights of a few solar radii above the Sun's visible surface, the flow becomes supersonic, reaching speeds of 350–750 km/s (220–470 mi/s) in interplanetary space. The solar wind finally terminates at a distance of perhaps 150 astronomical units (1 AU is the distance from the Sun to Earth), where it interacts with the local interstellar medium.
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