Quantitative model for the generic 3D shape of ICMEs at 1 AU
1 Observatoire de Paris, LESIA, UMR 8109 (CNRS), 92195 Meudon, France
2 Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, UMR8617, Univ. Paris-Sud-CNRS, Université Paris-Saclay, Bâtiment 121, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France
3 Departamento de Física and IFIBA, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina
4 Instituto de Astronomía y Física del Espacio, UBA-CONICET, CC. 67, Suc. 28, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina
5 Departamento de Ciencias de la Atmósfera y los Océanos and Departamento de Física, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Received: 20 January 2016
Accepted: 30 August 2016
Context. Interplanetary imagers provide 2D projected views of the densest plasma parts of interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs), while in situ measurements provide magnetic field and plasma parameter measurements along the spacecraft trajectory, that is, along a 1D cut. The data therefore only give a partial view of the 3D structures of ICMEs.
Aims. By studying a large number of ICMEs, crossed at different distances from their apex, we develop statistical methods to obtain a quantitative generic 3D shape of ICMEs.
Methods. In a first approach we theoretically obtained the expected statistical distribution of the shock-normal orientation from assuming simple models of 3D shock shapes, including distorted profiles, and compared their compatibility with observed distributions. In a second approach we used the shock normal and the flux rope axis orientations together with the impact parameter to provide statistical information across the spacecraft trajectory.
Results. The study of different 3D shock models shows that the observations are compatible with a shock that is symmetric around the Sun-apex line as well as with an asymmetry up to an aspect ratio of around 3. Moreover, flat or dipped shock surfaces near their apex can only be rare cases. Next, the sheath thickness and the ICME velocity have no global trend along the ICME front. Finally, regrouping all these new results and those of our previous articles, we provide a quantitative ICME generic 3D shape, including the global shape of the shock, the sheath, and the flux rope.
Conclusions. The obtained quantitative generic ICME shape will have implications for several aims. For example, it constrains the output of typical ICME numerical simulations. It is also a base for studying the transport of high-energy solar and cosmic particles during an ICME propagation as well as for modeling and forecasting space weather conditions near Earth.
Key words: Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs) / Sun: heliosphere / Sun: magnetic fields / solar-terrestrial relations
© ESO, 2016