The Effect of Stream Interaction Regions on ICME Structures Observed in Longitudinal Conjunction

Academic Article


  • <p>We present a study of two CMEs observed at Mercury and 1 AU by spacecraft in longitudinal conjunction. Of the two CMEs, one propagated relatively self-similarly, while the other one underwent significant changes in its properties, making them excellent case studies to investigate the following question: what causes the drastic alterations observed in some CMEs during propagation, while other CMEs remain relatively unchanged? Answering this question will also help us better understand the potential impact of CMEs on the near-Earth environment. </p><p>In this work we focus on the presence or absence of large-scale corotating structures in the propagation space between Mercury and 1 AU, that have been shown in the past to influence  the orientation  of  CME  magnetic  structures  and  the  properties  of  CME  sheaths. At both locations, we determine the CME flux rope orientation and characteristics using different fitting and classification methods. Our analysis is complemented by solar wind plasma measurements near 1 AU, by estimates of the size evolution of the sheaths and magnetic ejecta with heliocentric distance, and by the identification of solar wind structures in the CME propagation space based on in situ data, remote-sensing observations, and numerical simulations of the solar wind conditions in the inner heliosphere.</p><p>Results indicate that the changes observed in one CME were likely caused by a stream interaction region, while the CME exhibiting little change did not interact with any large-scale structure between Mercury and 1 AU. This work provides end-member examples of CME propagation in the inner heliosphere, exemplifying how interactions  with  corotating  structures  in  the  solar  wind  can  induce  essential  changes  in  CME structures. Our findings provide new fundamental insights on the propagation and evolution of CMEs, and can help lay the foundation for improved predictions of CME properties at 1 AU.</p>
  • Authors

  • Winslow, Reka M
  • Scolini, Camilla
  • Lugaz, Noe
  • Galvin, Antoinette B
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • July 2021
  • Has Subject Area


  • astro-ph.SR
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)


  • 916
  • Issue

  • 1