Flux-Rope Structure of Coronal Mass Ejections

Solar Physics

, Volume 284, Issue 1, pp 129-149

First online:

Magnetic Field Configuration Models and Reconstruction Methods for Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections

  • N. Al-HaddadAffiliated withCentrum voor Plasma-Astrofysica, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Email author 
  • , T. Nieves-ChinchillaAffiliated withHeliospheric Physics Lab., GSFC-NASAIACS-CUA
  • , N. P. SavaniAffiliated withUCARNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • , C. MöstlAffiliated withSpace Science Laboratory, University of CaliforniaSpace Research Institute, Austrian Academy of SciencesKanzelhöhe Observatory-IGAM, Institute of Physics, University of Graz
  • , K. MarubashiAffiliated withKorea Astronomy and Space Science Institute
  • , M. A. HidalgoAffiliated withSRG-UAH
  • , I. I. RoussevAffiliated withInstitute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii
  • , S. PoedtsAffiliated withCentrum voor Plasma-Astrofysica, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • , C. J. FarrugiaAffiliated withSpace Science Center and Department of Physics, University of New Hampshire

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This study aims to provide a reference for different magnetic field models and reconstruction methods for interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs). To understand the differences in the outputs of these models and codes, we analyzed 59 events from the Coordinated Data Analysis Workshop (CDAW) list, using four different magnetic field models and reconstruction techniques; force-free fitting, magnetostatic reconstruction using a numerical solution to the Grad–Shafranov equation, fitting to a self-similarly expanding cylindrical configuration and elliptical, non-force-free fitting. The resulting parameters of the reconstructions for the 59 events are compared statistically and in selected case studies. The ability of a method to fit or reconstruct an event is found to vary greatly; this depends on whether the event is a magnetic cloud or not. We find that the magnitude of the axial field is relatively consistent across models, but that the axis orientation of the ejecta is not. We also find that there are a few cases with different signs of the magnetic helicity for the same event when we leave the boundaries free to vary, which illustrates that this simplest of parameters is not necessarily always clearly constrained by fitting and reconstruction models. Finally, we examine three unique cases in depth to provide a comprehensive idea of the different aspects of how the fitting and reconstruction codes work.


Sun: corona Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs)