Fitting and Reconstruction of Thirteen Simple Coronal Mass Ejections


Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are the main drivers of geomagnetic disturbances, but the effects of their interaction with Earth’s magnetic field depend on their magnetic configuration and orientation. Fitting and reconstruction techniques have been developed to determine important geometrical and physical CME properties, such as the orientation of the CME axis, the CME size, and its magnetic flux. In many instances, there is disagreement between different methods but also between fitting from in situ measurements and reconstruction based on remote imaging. This could be due to the geometrical or physical assumptions of the models, but also to the fact that the magnetic field inside CMEs is only measured at one point in space as the CME passes over a spacecraft. In this article we compare three methods that are based on different assumptions for measurements by the Wind spacecraft for 13 CMEs from 1997 to 2015. These CMEs are selected from the interplanetary coronal mass ejections catalog on because of their simplicity in terms of: 1) slow expansion speed throughout the CME and 2) weak asymmetry in the magnetic field profile. This makes these 13 events ideal candidates for comparing codes that do not include expansion or distortion. We find that for these simple events, the codes are in relatively good agreement in terms of the CME axis orientation for six of the 13 events. Using the Grad–Shafranov technique, we can determine the shape of the cross-section, which is assumed to be circular for the other two models, a force-free fitting and a circular–cylindrical non force-free fitting. Five of the events are found to have a clear circular cross-section, even when this is not a precondition of the reconstruction. We make an initial attempt at evaluating the adequacy of the different assumptions for these simple CMEs. The conclusion of this work strongly suggests that attempts at reconciling in situ and remote-sensing views of CMEs must take into consideration the compatibility of the different models with specific CME structures to better reproduce flux ropes.

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Solar Physics



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