Volume 635, March 2020
|Number of page(s)||11|
|Section||The Sun and the Heliosphere|
|Published online||16 March 2020|
Asymmetric expansion of coronal mass ejections in the low corona
Universidad Tecnológica Nacional, Facultad Regional Mendoza, Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Sustentable, Rodriguez 243, M5502AJE Mendoza, Argentina
2 Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Godoy Cruz 2290, C1425FQB Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Accepted: 5 January 2020
Aims. Understanding how magnetic fields are structured within coronal mass ejections (CMEs), and how they evolve from the low corona into the heliosphere, is a major challenge for space weather forecasting and for solar physics. The study of CME morphology is a particularly auspicious approach to this problem, given that it holds a close relationship with the CME magnetic field configuration. Although earlier studies have suggested an asymmetry in the width of CMEs in orthogonal directions, this has not been inspected using multi-viewpoint observations.
Methods. The improved spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution, added to the multiple vantage points offered by missions of the Heliophysics System Observatory, constitute a unique opportunity to gain insight into this regard. We inspect the early evolution (below ten solar radii) of the morphology of a dozen CMEs occurring under specific conditions of observing spacecraft location and CME trajectory, favorable to reduce uncertainties typically involved in the 3D reconstruction used here. These events are carefully reconstructed by means of a forward modeling tool using simultaneous observations of the Solar-Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) Extreme Ultraviolet Imager and the Solar Dynamics Observatory Atmospheric Imaging Assembly as input when originating low in the corona, and followed up in the outer fields of view of the STEREO and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory coronagraphs. We then examine the height evolution of the morphological parameters arising from the reconstructions.
Results. The multi-viewpoint analysis of this set of CMEs revealed that their initial expansion – below three solar radii – is considerably asymmetric and non-self-similar. Both angular widths, namely along the main axes of CMEs (AWL) and in the orthogonal direction (AWD, representative of the flux rope diameter), exhibit much steeper change rates below this height, with the growth rate of AWL found to be larger than that of AWD, also below that height. Angular widths along the main axes of CMEs are on average ≈1.8 times larger than widths in the orthogonal direction AWD. The ratios of the two expansion speeds, namely in the directions of CMEs main axes and in their orthogonal, are nearly constant in time after ∼4 solar radii, with an average ratio ≈1.6. Heights at which the width change rate is defined to stabilize are greater for AWL than for AWD.
Key words: Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs) / Sun: corona / Sun: activity
© ESO 2020
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