Properties of the Sheath Regions of Coronal Mass Ejections with or without Shocks from STEREO in situ Observations near 1 au


We examine 188 coronal mass ejections (CMEs) measured by the twin Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory spacecraft during 2007–2016 to investigate the generic features of the CME sheath and the magnetic ejecta (ME) and dependencies of average physical parameters of the sheath on the ME. We classify the CMEs into three categories, focusing on whether the ME drives both a shock and sheath, or only a sheath, or neither, near 1 au. We also re-evaluate our initial classification through an automated algorithm and visual inspection. We observe that even for leading-edge speeds greater than 500 km s−1, 1 out of 4 MEs do not drive shocks near 1 au. MEs driving both shocks and sheaths are the fastest and propagate in high magnetosonic solar wind, whereas MEs driving only sheaths are the slowest and propagate in low magnetosonic solar wind. Our statistical and superposed epoch analyses indicate that all parameters are more enhanced in the sheath regions following shocks than in sheaths without shocks. However, differences within sheaths become statistically less significant for similar driving MEs. We also find that the radial thickness of ME-driven sheaths apparently has no clear linear correlation with the speed profile and associated Mach numbers of the driver.

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The Astrophysical Journal



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