Three-dimensional MHD simulation of the 2003 October 28 coronal mass ejection: Comparison with LASCO coronagraph observations


We numerically model the coronal mass ejection (CME) event of 2003 October 28 that erupted from AR 10486 and propagated to Earth in less than 20 hr, causing severe geomagnetic storms. The magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) model is formulated by first arriving at a steady state corona and solar wind employing synoptic magnetograms. We initiate two CMEs from the same active region, one approximately a day earlier that preconditions the solar wind for the much faster CME on the 28th. This second CME travels through the corona at a rate of over 2500 km s−1, driving a strong forward shock. We clearly identify this shock in an image produced by the Large Angle Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) C3 and reproduce the shock and its appearance in synthetic white-light images from the simulation. We find excellent agreement with both the general morphology and the quantitative brightness of the model CME with LASCO observations. These results demonstrate that the CME shape is largely determined by its interaction with the ambient solar wind and may not be sensitive to the initiation process. We then show how the CME would appear as observed by wide-angle coronagraphs on board the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft. We find complex time evolution of the white-light images as a result of the way in which the density structures pass through the Thomson sphere. The simulation is performed with the Space Weather Modeling Framework (SWMF).

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The Astrophysical Journal



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