An international team of scientists, led by Prof Louise Harra, University College London, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, have found a source of the stream of particles that make up the slow solar wind using data from Hinode and SOHO.
The solar wind can have low or high speeds. The low-speed or slow solar wind moves at only 1.5 million km/h. The high-speed wind is even faster, moving at speeds as high as 3 million km/h. As it flows past Earth, the solar wind changes the shape and structure of Earth's magnetic field.
ESA’ s SOHO and Hinode Project Scientist, Bernhard Fleck says, “In the past, apart from creating beautiful auroral displays, the solar wind didn’t affect us directly. But as we’ve become increasingly dependent on technology, we are more susceptible to its effects. We’re learning that variations in its flow can dramatically change the shape of Earth's magnetic field, which can damage satellites, disrupt communications and electrical power systems.”