A Potential test for the planetary – solar connection: Jovian Perihelion

Posted: January 6, 2011 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Before he died, Timo Niroma noted that the two day lull in the solar wind in 1999 coincided with the perihelion of Jupiter, the planet’s closest approach to the Sun in it’s 11.86 year orbit.


Starting late on May 10 and continuing through the early hours of May 12, NASA’s ACE and Wind spacecraft each observed that the density of the solar wind dropped by more than 98%…According to observations from the ACE spacecraft, the density of helium in the solar wind dropped to less than 0.1% of its normal value, and heavier ions, held back by the Sun’s gravity, apparently could not escape from the Sun at all. Data from NASA’s SAMPEX spacecraft reveal that in the wake of this event, Earth’s outer electron radiation belts dissipated and were severely depleted for several months afterward… Earth’s magnetosphere swelled to five to six times its normal size. NASA’s Wind, IMP-8, and Lunar Prospector spacecraft, the Russian INTERBALL satellite and the Japanese Geotail satellite observed the most distant bow shock ever recorded by satellites.


“The May event provides unique conditions to test ideas about solar-terrestrial interactions,” Ogilvie noted. “It also strengthens our belief that we’re beginning to understand how the Sun-Earth connection works.”

Tell us more NASA! 🙂

The next Jovian perihelion is this spring around March 20th near the vernal equinox , will we get a repeat performance?

I’m hunting for data for the previous Jovian Perihelion, around the start of July 1987, and will update this post if I find anything.

  1. For sure it will happen again in March. Great Timo Niroma!. But…Tell us more NASA!
    it´s hopeless, that´s like asking Rome in the 16tb century to stop Inquisition.

  2. tallbloke says:

    We don’t know what will happen in March. We don’t know if what happened in 1999 was something to do with Jupiter or not, or something to do with Jupiter and something else, which isn’t in place this time.

    All we can do is wait, watch, and try to refrain from slagging NASA off unnecessarily.

  3. Tenuc says:

    There was a blue moon in Mar 1999, but I don’t know why this should effect anything???

    Regarding NASA, I think there are many areas where they deserve criticism, not least the money they waste furthering the cause of CAGW. One has to doubt their honesty when it comes to reporting their findings. Politics and science are always uncomfortable bedfellows.

  4. @Tenuc
    Could you imagine how much could it be done with all the data gathered if it would be analyzed by a free, independent, and private institution?

  5. vukcevic says:

    Just posted this on WUWT
    It appears velocity was OK but density fell to near zero.
    For the experts and connoisseurs here is list of links with graphics of all parameters:

  6. vukcevic says:
    January 6, 2011 at 6:09 pm
    Is there any relation with your polar fields graph?

  7. tallbloke says:

    Thanks Vuk.
    Yes, the article states density fell 98%. The fact that the velocity of those particles which did escape wasn’t much affected is a side note to the main event really. But what was happening? A sudden drop in a differential of some sort it would seem.

  8. orkneylad says:

    This is fascinating……
    Watching developments with much interest here! 🙂

  9. tallbloke says:

    Good to hear from you OL, hope the new year is treating you well.

  10. orkneylad says:

    Great so far talkbloke 🙂

  11. A sudden drop in a differential of some sort it would seem.
    Lovers liked twilight and turned around the variable resistant knob 🙂
    Seriously talking: Every breath of the Sun takes a time…perhaps regulated by its parasympathetic nervous system :Jupiter

  12. E O'Connor says:

    NASA/GFSC press release titled ‘The Day the Solar Wind Disappeared’


    Has images and an animation.

  13. E O'Connor says:

    Ah! Hit the send button too soon.

    No Jovian mention.

  14. E O'Connor says:

    There was a solar wind termination shock in 1987 which was compared to others in ’93 and ’94

    “The Distance to the Solar Wind Termination Shock in 1993 and 1994 from Observations of Anomalous Cosmic Rays” by E. C. Stone, A. C. Cummings and W. R. Webber


    Again no “By Jove!” So what was interesting in ’93 and ’94?

  15. If you take a coil of wire and a strong magnet, and pass the magnet close to the coil of wire,
    you will get an induction surge as the magnet comes closer until closest approach, pause at the peak at which time the current in the wire pauses until the magnet starts to move away again.

    I think the magnetic couplings between the sun and Jupiter are having the same effect that Maxwells equations say they should be having. The pause in current / solar wind is the same effect, from perihelion to maximum extent (should be another lull here too) the strength of coupling drops and LOD changes take their usual effects as well.

    If the earth is within 15 degrees either side of the heliocentric alignment with Jupiter, by being in the area of the magnetic coupling flowing in the solar wind, will come under the strength change influence in inductive effects. Will read the article to see the connection.

  16. tallbloke says:
    January 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    We don’t know what will happen in March. We don’t know if what happened in 1999 was something to do with Jupiter or not, or something to do with Jupiter and something else, which isn’t in place this time.

    Reply; The earth is having a synod conjunction with Saturn on the 3rd of April 2011, which should induce a surge in inductive coupling, (might wash out any expected weakening of the signal) Jupiter will be almost directly across the solar system, with both of the Gas planets ~90 degrees off of the line to the center of the galaxy from the sun.

    Any leap frogging of magnetic field couplings across the solar system will be at its weakest point, I would suspect more of an earth quake based signal on top of the (slightly weaker?) spring out break of tornadoes the first week of April, it will be interesting to see resultant intensities of the activity levels.

    E O’Connor says:
    January 8, 2011 at 7:05 am
    “Again no “By Jove!” So what was interesting in ’93 and ’94?”

    Reply; the synod conjunction of Neptune and Uranus occurred on April 3rd in 1993, and the USA had massive floods over the entire mid-western Plains.

  17. tallbloke says:

    Thanks for these additional observations Richard. So we probably won’t see the same magnitude of effect this time around, although the perihelion of Jupiter is a few weeks earlier than the Earth Saturn synod, so perhaps something might show up.

    In May 1999 the Earth was also on the other side of the Sun from Jupiter though, so maybe the effect isn’t just in the Jupiter direction.

  18. P.G. Sharrow says:

    This reminds me of broadcast antenna lobing. In a theoretical clean setup the antenna casts a uniform field 360 degrees. Through shading elements the field can be lobed. The element grabs the signal and with counter emf reflects the energy of the field. There is little or no signal behind the element and the reflected field is the greatest strength 90 degrees to the element antenna axis. To the sides and not in front of the reflector as the antenna is also a reflector. Of course the very strongest fields are between the antenna and the reflector. Kind of like a bug caught between the elements of a bug zapper. 8-P pg

  19. tallbloke says:

    I’m not seeing a big spike in the Oulu neutron monitor graph for May 1999, so maybe the effect was quite directional? Or the Oulu data isn’t sufficiently high res on the 14400 min scale?