Geophysical Research Letters

Ulysses observations of the northward extension of the heliospheric current sheet



After passing through the northern polar regions of the heliosphere during the summer of 1995, the Ulysses spacecraft has been gradually returning towards lower equatorial latitudes, reaching 30°N in August 1996 at about which time low speed solar wind from the streamer belt was once again observed. This paper reports on the Ulysses magnetic field observations, beginning from this time, concentrating on encounters with the heliospheric current sheet. These encounters restarted at a latitude of 25.5°N, a higher latitude than might be expected at solar activity minimum. We show that this early reappearance was due to a northward deflection of the current sheet caused by a long-lived active region at the corresponding heliographic longitude in the photosphere.