- an emanation from the sun's corona consisting of a flow of charged particles, mainly electrons and protons, that interacts with the magnetic field of the earth and other planetary bodies.
Origin of solar wind
First recorded in 1955–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- the constant stream of charged particles, esp protons and electrons, emitted by the sun at high velocities, its density and speed varying during periods of solar activity. It interacts with the earth's magnetic field, some of the particles being trapped by the magnetic lines of force, and causes auroral displaysSee also Van Allen belt, magnetosphere
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
- A continuous stream of plasma ejected by the Sun, flowing outward from the corona. This plasma, which consists mostly of protons and electrons, has enough energy to escape the Sun's gravitational field at speeds ranging from about 300 to 800 km (186 to 496 mi) per second and averaging 1,610,000 km (1,000,000 mi) per hour, which allows the solar wind to reach Earth in about 3.9 days. The speed and intensity of the solar wind depends on magnetic activity at different regions of the Sun. The solar wind spreads out from the Sun in a pinwheel pattern as a result of the Sun's rotation, pushing back the interstellar medium to the boundary known as the heliopause. The tails of comets, which always extend away from the Sun regardless of the direction of the comet's motion, are a result of the impact of solar wind, which dislodges ice and other particles from the comet's surface. Similar winds flowing from other stars are called stellar winds. See also aurora.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.