Exploring the Inner Acceleration Region of Solar Wind: A Study Based on Coronagraphic UV and Visible Light Data
This work combined coronagraphic visible light (VL) and UV data to provide with an unprecedented view of the inner corona where the nascent solar wind is accelerated. The UV (H I Lyα) and VL (polarized brightness) images (reconstructed with SOHO/UVCS, LASCO, and Mauna Loa data) have been analyzed with the Doppler dimming technique to provide for the first time daily 2D images of the radial wind speed between 1 and 6 R ☉ over 1 month of observations. Results show that both polar and equatorial regions are characterized at the base of the corona by plasma outflows at speeds > 100 km s-1. The plasma is then decelerated within ̃1.5 R ☉ at the poles and ̃2.0 R ☉ at the equator, where local minima of the expansion speeds are reached, and gently reaccelerated higher up, reaching speeds typical of fast and slow wind components. The mass flux is highly variable with latitude and time at the equator and more uniform and stable over the poles. The polar flow is asymmetric, with speeds above the south pole lower than those above the north pole. A correlation (anticorrelation) between the wind speed and its density is found below (above) ̃1.8 R ☉. The 2D distribution of forces responsible for deceleration and reacceleration of solar wind is provided and interpreted in terms of Alfvén waves. These results provide a possible connection between small-scale outflows reported with other instruments at the base of the corona and bulk wind flows measured higher up.