Solar activity and coronal mass ejections on the western hemisphere of the Sun in mid-August 1989: Association with interplanetary observations at the ICE and IMP 8 spacecraft


During the 10-day period from August 12 to 21, 1989, a sequence of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) was observed above the west limb of the Sun by the Solar Maximum Mission (SMM) coronagraph. Most of these CMEs apparently originated in the vicinity of one particularly active region during its passage from near central meridian to behind the west limb of the Sun. We present observations made at 1 AU during this period by the ICE (formerly ISEE 3) and IMP 8 spacecraft which were separated by ∼75° in heliolongitude. Following CMEs on August 12 associated with solar events at ∼W40°, IMP 8 (in Earth orbit) detected a strong shock followed by signatures in magnetic field, solar wind plasma, and energetic ion data which suggest that CME-related material (“ejecta”) forming the shock driver engulfed the spacecraft. This spacecraft only observed weak shocks, and no ejecta, from later CMEs originating further west of the spacecraft. In contrast ICE, off the west limb at ∼W75°, observed the shock from the W40° event but failed to encounter the shock driver, whereas clear ejecta signatures were observed following events further west, closer to the spacecraft heliolongitude. The disappearance of these signatures (which include bidirectional energetic ion flows, bidirectional solar wind heat fluxes, quiet, enhanced magnetic fields and anomalously cool plasma) at IMP 8 and their emergence at ICE as the solar source region moved westward supports the association of such signatures with ejecta related to CMEs. The dual-spacecraft observations are also consistent with the conclusion of Richardson and Cane (1993) that ejecta at 1 AU typically extend ∼50° in longitude from the solar source. Some plausible associations between particular intervals of ejecta signatures at ICE and individual CMEs are made. However, these associations are complicated by the large number of CMEs present, by intermittent ICE data coverage, and by uncertainties in the ejecta propagation speeds to the spacecraft.

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JGR: Space Physics



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