Does anyone know where I can find real (not approximate) solar wind data in LEO? I am particularly interested in the density and current of electrons

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The solar wind virtually never makes it to LEO. There is still plasma in and around the near-Earth environment called the magnetosphere but it's not directly the solar wind (solar wind plasma gets in indirectly through magnetic reconnection). $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ the density of the solar wind [...] is usually on the order of just a few protons per cubic centimeter. [1] [1]: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_the_Moon#Composition $\endgroup$
    – Kav
    Commented Oct 21, 2021 at 17:47

1 Answer 1


I found an answer in International Reference Ionosphere - IRI (2016) with IGRF-13 coefficients.

This page enables the computation and plotting of IRI parameters: electron and ion (O+, H+, He+, O2+, NO+) densities, total electron content, electron, ion and neutral (CIRA-86) temperatures, equatorial vertical ion drift and others.

It provides the electron density, temperature etc. of Earth's ionosphere from 100 to 2000 km

While the Earth's magnetic field (see magnetosphere is sufficient to stop the solar wind proper (see Magnetopause there is still a plasma trapped in Earth's magnetic field lines which originates at least partially from the solar wind.

  • $\begingroup$ Great news that you've solved your own problem. It's always okay to accept your own answer in Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 23:24
  • $\begingroup$ Yes there is plasma trapped in the Earth's magnetic field that originated from solar wind. That region is called the van Allen Belts. Your question asks about LEO, which does not get any significant matter from the Solar wind or the van Allen belts, except at very high latitudes, where they impact the atmosphere as the Auroras. The atmosphere/exosphere's contribution to matter in LEO is many, many magnitudes larger than the solar wind's contribution. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 22, 2021 at 11:41
  • $\begingroup$ Since no one else said so, I would add that these densities are variable (as the data you have may show). Your resource should say something about the effect of extremes of solar activity. So, as any good analyst should do, run your problem with mean, min, and max values; or mean and standard deviation values. Then ask yourself, do these changes help or harm the overall problem? If so, how? $\endgroup$
    – Chris Ison
    Commented Oct 22, 2021 at 23:29

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