A SELF-SIMILAR EXPANSION MODEL FOR USE IN SOLAR WIND TRANSIENT PROPAGATION STUDIES
Since the advent of wide-angle imaging of the inner heliosphere, a plethora of techniques have been developed to investigate the three-dimensional structure and kinematics of solar wind transients, such as coronal mass ejections, from their signatures in single- and multi-spacecraft imaging observations. These techniques, which range from the highly complex and computationally intensive to methods based on simple curve fitting, all have their inherent advantages and limitations. In the analysis of single-spacecraft imaging observations, much use has been made of the fixed ϕ fitting (FPF) and harmonic mean fitting (HMF) techniques, in which the solar wind transient is considered to be a radially propagating point source (fixed ϕ, FP, model) and a radially expanding circle anchored at Sun centre (harmonic mean, HM, model), respectively. Initially, we compare the radial speeds and propagation directions derived from application of the FPF and HMF techniques to a large set of STEREO/Heliospheric Imager (HI) observations. As the geometries on which these two techniques are founded constitute extreme descriptions of solar wind transients in terms of their extent along the line of sight, we describe a single-spacecraft fitting technique based on a more generalized model for which the FP and HM geometries form the limiting cases. In addition to providing estimates of a transient's speed and propagation direction, the self-similar expansion fitting (SSEF) technique provides, in theory, the capability to estimate the transient's angular extent in the plane orthogonal to the field of view. Using the HI observations, and also by performing a Monte Carlo simulation, we assess the potential of the SSEF technique.
The Astrophysical Journal
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
A SELF-SIMILAR EXPANSION MODEL FOR USE IN SOLAR WIND TRANSIENT PROPAGATION STUDIES. Astrophysical Journal. 750:23-23. 2012