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The source of the wind
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  the source of the solar wind
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  where are coronal holes found?
  how fast does the solar wind travel?
  the elephant's trunk
  the fast and slow solar winds

how fast does the solar wind travel?

 

The solar wind blows from the Sun at a gentle 10 km/s or so and then accelerates up to around 800 km/s further out in space. That's a top speed of nearly 3 million kilometres per hour.

 

The exhaust gas produced by a jet engine travels at about 1,300 miles per hour. Convert that into metric units and we get 0.6 km/s. Pathetic compared to the speed of the solar wind!

         

If the solar wind travels at over 1,000 times the speed of a jet engine exhaust, can it blow the Sun off course?

 

No. Although it has a very high speed, the mass is tiny compared to that of the Sun.

 

Take a look at the section on spacecraft and rockets to find out more.

 

 

 

 

Here's an ultraviolet image (above) of the Sun obtained by SOHO. The rectangle shows part of a coronal hole region. In the enlargement, areas coloured blue show where the material is flowing towards us. It looks as if the solar wind is shooting out from "cracks" in the solar surface!

 

SOHO-EIT UV image (left) showing a large coronal hole, with arrows showing the solar wind flowing out from the Sun.

     
   

 

   
 
 

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