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Advancing In Situ Modeling of ICMEs: New Techniques for New Observations

By Tamitha Mulligan, Alysha A. Reinard and Benjamin J. Lynch


It is generally known that multi-spacecraft observations of interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) more clearly reveal their three-dimensional structure than do observations made by a single spacecraft. The launch of the STEREO twin observatories in October 2006 has greatly increased the number of multipoint studies of ICMEs in the literature, but this field is still in its infancy. To date, most studies continue to use on flux rope models that rely on single track observations through a vast, multi-faceted structure, which oversimplifies the problem and often hinders interpretation of the large-scale geometry, especially for cases in which one spacecraft observes a flux rope, while another does not. In order to tackle these complex problems, new modeling techniques are required. We describe these new techniques and analyze two ICMEs observed at the twin STEREO spacecraft on 22-23 May 2007, when the spacecraft were separated by ~8 degrees. We find a combination of non-force-free flux rope multi-spacecraft modeling, together with a new non-flux rope ICME plasma flow deflection model, better constrains the large-scale structure of these ICMEs. We also introduce a new spatial mapping technique that allows us to put multispacecraft observations and the new ICME model results in context with the convecting solar wind. What is distinctly different about this analysis is that it reveals aspects of ICME geometry and dynamics in a far more visually intuitive way than previously accomplished. In the case of the 22-23 May ICMEs, the analysis facilitates a more physical understanding of ICME large-scale structure, the location and geometry of flux rope sub-structures within these ICMEs, and their dynamic interaction with the ambient solar wind

Topics: Physics - Space Physics
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1002/jgra.50101
OAI identifier: oai:arXiv.org:1208.5107

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