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Flux of particles, chiefly protons, electrons, and helium nuclei, accelerated by the hot solar corona's high temperatures to speeds high enough to allow them to escape the Sun. Solar flares increase its intensity. The solar wind deflects planets' magnetospheres and the ion tails of comets away from the Sun. The uninterrupted portion of the solar wind continues to travel to a distance of about 110–170 astronomical units, where it cools and eventually diffuses into interstellar space. See alsoheliopause.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on solar wind, visit Britannica.com.