Indexed on: 01 Feb '97Published on: 01 Feb '97Published in: Space science reviews
The consequences of the interaction between the solar wind and the local interstellar medium for the wind region enclosed by the heliospheric shock are reviewed. After identifying the principal mechanisms to influence the dynamics of the solar wind, an approach allowing the simultaneous incorporation of neutral atoms, pick-up ions, cosmic rays and energetic electrons into a multifluid model of the expanding wind plasma is outlined. The effects of these particle species are discussed in detail, with special emphasis on the electron component which behaves more like a quasi-static hot gas rather than an expanding fluid. This electron gas is effectively trapped within a three-dimensional trough of a circumsolar electric potential whose outer fringes are possibly determined by the density distribution of anomalous cosmic rays. The electrons are proven to be a globally structered component of great importance for the solar wind momentum flow contributing to a triggering of the solar wind dynamics by asymmetric interstellar boundary conditions. Finally, the consequences for the relative motion of the Sun and the local interstellar medium as well as for the solar system as a whole are described.