SUN-TO-EARTH CHARACTERISTICS OF TWO CORONAL MASS EJECTIONS INTERACTING NEAR 1 AU: FORMATION OF A COMPLEX EJECTA AND GENERATION OF A TWO-STEP GEOMAGNETIC STORM
On 2012 September 30–October 1 the Earth underwent a two-step geomagnetic storm. We examine the Sun-to-Earth characteristics of the coronal mass ejections (CMEs) responsible for the geomagnetic storm with combined heliospheric imaging and in situ observations. The first CME, which occurred on 2012 September 25, is a slow event and shows an acceleration followed by a nearly invariant speed in the whole Sun–Earth space. The second event, launched from the Sun on 2012 September 27, exhibits a quick acceleration, then a rapid deceleration, and finally a nearly constant speed, a typical Sun-to-Earth propagation profile for fast CMEs. These two CMEs interacted near 1 AU as predicted by the heliospheric imaging observations and formed a complex ejecta observed at Wind, with a shock inside that enhanced the pre-existing southward magnetic field. Reconstruction of the complex ejecta with the in situ data indicates an overall left-handed flux-rope-like configuration with an embedded concave-outward shock front, a maximum magnetic field strength deviating from the flux rope axis, and convex-outward field lines ahead of the shock. While the reconstruction results are consistent with the picture of CME–CME interactions, a magnetic cloud-like structure without clear signs of CME interactions is anticipated when the merging process is finished.
The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Ying D. Liu, Zhongwei Yang, Rui Wang, Janet G. Luhmann, John D. Richardson, and Noé Lugaz. SUN-TO-EARTH CHARACTERISTICS OF TWO CORONAL MASS EJECTIONS INTERACTING NEAR 1 AU: FORMATION OF A COMPLEX EJECTA AND GENERATION OF A TWO-STEP GEOMAGNETIC STORM. Astrophysical Journal Letters. 793:L41-L41. 2014