ISTP Solar Wind Catalog

ISTP Solar Wind Catalog

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The ISTP Science Planning and Operations Facility (SPOF), in collaboration with ISTP investigators, is developing this catalog of preliminary/selected solar wind events and features. The catalog also contains listings of times when WIND and IMP-8 were in the solar wind. Coverage begins on September 8, 1992, the start of ISTP science data collection. With the launch of ACE in 1997, and its permanent coverage of solar wind conditions in near real time we incorporate to our selection interesting time periods also observed with the instruments SWEPAM and MAG in ACE.

The catalog contains information on selected features of the solar wind at 1 AU whose signatures derive from plasma and magnetic field measurements from the IMP-8 and WIND spacecraft in the form of Key Parameters (KPs -- preliminary summary data at ~1 min time resolution produced quickly for survey purposes); as such, the catalog should not be used a definitive source in formal scientific work. Researchers using the catalog should reference its contents with statements such as: The event from "Feb 26, 1995" has been identified as a candidate "Sector Boundary Crossing" worthy of further study. The primary intent for the catalog is to serve as a reference for identifying candidate periods for further study, such as may be the focus of coordinated data analysis efforts during ISTP and/or IACG Science Campaigns. A major goal is to help facilitate research that uses these and related data sets from ISTP and related missions in three respects:

  1. In the study of the solar wind as a plasma laboratory of interest in itself.
  2. In studies of solar wind-magnetosphere coupling since these signatures may possibly be correlated with signatures indicating in-situ magnetospheric activity.
  3. In studies of solar activity-solar wind linkage.

Attempts were made to accommodate all three areas though not necessarily equitably. We do not claim that the listing is comprehensive in any sense. For example, Coronal Mass Ejections (CME's) have been acknowledged as an important cause of magnetospheric activity. The suite of measurements available to us does not include those usually required to definitively identify CME's (e.g., bi-directional streaming of energetic electrons). Thus, such events are not listed by that terminology, although some of the selectedevents may be associated with CME's because certain of our event categories are well correlated with CME's.

The solar wind features are classified into several categories (e.g., interplanetary shock wave, extended period of strong negative Bz, etc.), which we believe support the three types of studies listed above, without indicating which one is relevant. These classification categories are listed below along with references supporting why they are important. An extended event has separate start and end times listed for it, whereas a sharp discontinuous event (such as a shock ramp) has the same time listed for both start and end times (clearly, for follow-up studies researchers will need to examine data before and after the listed time).

In any case, all times chosen are to be preliminary, serving as a guide for further examination. Most entries are simple statements of facts according to the quality of the preliminary KP data, with subjectivity entering into the implied importance of the selected event and its start and end times. There are other listings where interpretations of the basic measurement signatures appear to be implied (e.g., interplanetary shock wave, magnetic cloud, etc.). We want to emphasize that in those cases the employed terminology means only that the signature appears to be like that certain kind of event from a cursory examination and may be a candidate for further study to affirm or deny the preliminary estimation. In other words, a shock-like profile, for example, will simply be put into the "shock" category, with no imprimatur implied.

In summary, this document is meant to be an aid in highlighting some aspects of the IMP- 8 and WIND solar wind data hopefully leading to new scientific endeavors, and we hope it inspires many. It is not concerned directly with very fine-scale features (i.e. t < approx. 1 min.), since such scales were not reviewed in creating it.

Event Categories

List of Candidate Events

Table of Solar Wind Times

This server and the information being made available are evolving as the ISTP Project evolves. Questions or comments should be sent to the authors at the address below.


Last updated: Sep. 9, 2002

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