Over-expansion of coronal mass ejections modelled using 3D MHD EUHFORIA simulations

C. Verbeke, B. Schmieder, P. Démoulin, S. Dasso, B. Grison, E. Samara, C. Scolini, S. Poedts

Submitted on 7 July 2022


Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are large scale eruptions observed close to the Sun. They are travelling through the heliosphere and possibly interacting with the Earth environment creating interruptions or even damaging new technology instruments. Most of the time their physical conditions (velocity, density, pressure) are only measured in situ at one point in space, with no possibility to have information on the variation of these parameters during their journey from Sun to Earth. Our aim is to understand the evolution of internal physical parameters of a set of three particular fast halo CMEs. These CMEs were launched between 15 and 18 July 2002. Surprisingly, the related interplanetary CMEs (ICMEs), observed near Earth, have a low, and in one case even very low, plasma density. We use the EUropean Heliosphere FORecasting Information Asset (EUHFORIA) model to simulate the propagation of the CMEs in the background solar wind by placing virtual spacecraft along the Sun--Earth line. We set up the initial conditions at 0.1 au, first with a cone model and then with a linear force free spheromak model. A relatively good agreement between simulation results and observations concerning the speed, density and arrival times of the ICMEs is obtained by adapting the initial CME parameters. In particular, this is achieved by increasing the initial magnetic pressure so that a fast expansion is induced in the inner heliosphere. This implied the develop First, we show that a magnetic configuration with an out of force balance close to the Sun mitigates the EUHFORIA assumptions related to an initial uniform velocity. Second, the over-expansion of the ejected magnetic configuration in the inner heliosphere is one plausible origin for the low density observed in some ICMEs at 1 au. The in situ observed very low density has a possible coronal origin of fast expansion for two of the three ICMEs.


Comment: 20 pages

Subjects: Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics; Physics - Space Physics