Space Science Reviews

, 147:55 | Cite as

Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections Observed in the Heliosphere: 2. Model and Data Comparison

  • S. James Tappin
  • Timothy A. Howard


With the recent advancements in interplanetary coronal mass ejection (ICME) imaging it is necessary to understand how heliospheric images may be interpreted, particularly at large elongation angles. Of crucial importance is how the current methods used for coronal mass ejection measurement in coronagraph images must be changed to account for the large elongations involved in the heliosphere. We present results comparing a new model of interplanetary disturbances with heliospheric image data, from the Solar Mass Ejection Imager. A database containing a range of ICMEs simulated with varying parameters describing its topology, orientation, location and speed was produced and compared with two ICMEs observed in February and December 2004. We identify the simulated ICME that best matches the data, and use the parameters required to identify their three-dimensional leading-edge structure, orientation and kinematics. By constant comparison with the data we are able to keep track of small changes to the ICME topology and kinematic properties, thus for the first time are able to monitor how the dynamic interaction between the ICME and the interplanetary medium affects ICME evolution. This is the second part of a series of three papers, where the theory behind the model is presented in an accompanying paper and the physical implications are discussed in the third part. The first part considers the effects of Thomson scattering across the entire span of the disturbance and includes its apparent geometry at large elongations. We find that the model converges reliably to a solution for both events, although we identify four separate structures during the December period. Comparing the 3-D trajectory and source location with known associated features identified with other spacecraft, we find a remarkable agreement between the model and data. We conclude with a brief discussion of the physical implications of the model.


Coronal mass ejections Solar-terrestrial relations Interplanetary medium 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Air Force Research LaboratoryNational Solar ObservatorySunspotUSA

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