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The density compression ratio of shock fronts associated with coronal mass ejections  

Ryun Young Kwon   Submitted: 2018-01-16 11:51

We present a new method to extract the three-dimensional electron density profile and density compression ratio of shock fronts associated with Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) observed in white light coronagraph images. We demonstrate the method with two examples of fast halo CMEs (∼ 2000 km s-1) observed on 2011 March 7 and 2014 February 25. Our method uses the ellipsoid model to derive the three-dimensional (3D) geometry and kinematics of the fronts. The density profiles of the sheaths are modeled with double-Gaussian functions with four free parameters and the electrons are distributed within thin shells behind the front. The modeled densities are integrated along the lines of sight to be compared with the observed brightness in COR2-A, and a χ2 approach is used to obtain the optimal parameters for the Gaussian profiles. The upstream densities are obtained from both the inversion of the brightness in a pre-event image and an empirical model. Then the density ratio and Alfvénic Mach number are derived. We find that the density compression peaks around the CME nose, and decreases at larger position angles. The behavior is consistent with a driven shock at the nose and a freely-propagating shock wave at the CME flanks. Interestingly, we find that the supercritical region extends over a large area of the shock and last longer (several tens of minutes) than past reports. It follows that CME shocks are capable of accelerating energetic particles in the corona over extended spatial and temporal scales and are likely responsible for the wide longitudinal distribution of these particles in the inner heliosphere. Our results also demonstrate the power of multi-viewpoint coronagraphic observations and forward modeling in remotely deriving key shock properties in an otherwise inaccessible regime.

Authors: Ryun-Young Kwon, Angelos Vourlidas
Projects: None

Publication Status: Accepted for publication in the Journal of Space Weather and Space Climate
Last Modified: 2018-01-17 12:45
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Investigating the Wave Nature of the Outer Envelope of Halo Coronal Mass Ejections  

Ryun Young Kwon   Submitted: 2017-02-23 11:14

We investigate the nature of the outer envelope of halo coronal mass ejections (H-CMEs) using multi-viewpoint observations from the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory-A, -B, and SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory coronagraphs. The 3D structure and kinematics of the halo envelopes and the driving CMEs are derived separately using a forward modeling method. We analyze three H-CMEs with peak speeds from 1355 to 2157 km s-1; sufficiently fast to drive shocks in the corona. We find that the angular widths of the halos range from 192° to 252°, while those of the flux ropes range between only 58° and 91°, indicating that the halos are waves propagating away from the CMEs. The halo widths are in agreement with widths of Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) waves in the low corona further demonstrating the common origin of these structures. To further investigate the wave nature of the halos, we model their 3D kinematic properties with a linear fast magnetosonic wave model. The model is able to reproduce the position of the halo flanks with realistic coronal medium assumptions but fails closer to the CME nose. The CME halo envelope seems to arise from a driven wave (or shock) close to the CME nose, but it is gradually becoming a freely propagating fast magnetosonic wave at the flanks. This interpretation provides a simple unifying picture for CME halos, EUV waves, and the large longitudinal spread of solar energetic particles.

Authors: Ryun-Young Kwon and Angelos Vourlidas
Projects: None

Publication Status: ApJ 2017, Volume, 836, Number 2, 246
Last Modified: 2017-03-01 12:20
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Are Halo-like Solar Coronal Mass Ejections Merely a Matter of Geometric Projection Effects?  

Ryun Young Kwon   Submitted: 2015-02-02 17:28

We investigated the physical nature of halo coronal mass ejections (CMEs) based on the stereoscopic observations from the two STEREO spacecraft, Ahead and Behind (hereafter A and B), and the SOHO spacecraft. Sixty-two halo CMEs occurred as observed by SOHO LASCO C2 for the three-year period from 2010 to 2012 during which the separation angles between SOHO and STEREO were nearly 90?. In such quadrature configuration, the coronagraphs of STEREO, COR2-A and -B, showed the side view of those halo CMEs seen by C2. It has been widely believed that the halo appearance of a CME is caused by the geometric projection effect, i.e., a CME moves along the Sun-observer line. In other words, it would appear as a non-halo CME if viewed from the side. However, to our surprise, we found that 41 out of 62 events (66%) were observed as halo CMEs by all coronagraphs. This result suggests that a halo CME is not just a matter of the propagating direction. In addition, we show that a CME propagating normal to the line of sight can be observed as a halo CME due to the associated fast magnetosonic wave or shock front. We conclude that the apparent width of CMEs, especially halos or partial halos is driven by the existence and the extent of the associated waves or shocks and does not represent an accurate measure of the CME ejecta size. This effect needs to be taken into careful consideration in space weather predictions and modeling efforts.

Authors: Ryun-Young Kwon, Jie Zhang, and Angelos Vourlidas
Projects: None

Publication Status: published
Last Modified: 2015-02-03 10:59
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NEW INSIGHTS INTO THE PHYSICAL NATURE OF CORONAL MASS EJECTIONS AND ASSOCIATED SHOCK WAVES WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE THREE-DIMENSIONAL STRUCTURE  

Ryun Young Kwon   Submitted: 2014-09-24 10:40

We present new insights into the physical nature of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and associated shock waves within the framework of the three-dimensional (3D) structure. We have developed a compound model in order to determine the 3D structure of multiple fronts composing a CME, using data sets taken from STEREO, SDO, and SOHO. We applied the method to time series observations of a CME on 2012 March 7. From the analyses, we revealed that a CME could consist of two different fronts: one is represented well with the ellipsoid model, implying that CMEs are bubble-shaped structures and the other is reproduced well with the graduated cylindrical shell model, indicating that CMEs are flux rope-shaped structures. The bubble-shaped structure is seen as the outermost front of the CME, and the flux rope-shaped structure is seen as the bright frontal loop or three-part morphology. From our results, we conclude that (1) a CME could consist of two distinct structures, a bubble shaped structure and a flux rope-shaped structure, (2) the bubble-shaped structure is a fast magnetosonic shock wave while the flux rope-shaped structure is the mass carried outward by the underlying magnetic structure, (3) the driven shock front could be either a piston-shock type or a bow-shock type, (4) the observed EUV wave in the low corona is the footprint of the bubble-shaped wave, and (5) the halo CME is primarily the projection of the bubble-shaped shock wave but not the underlying flux rope.

Authors: Ryun-Young Kwon, Jie Zhang, and Oscar Olmedo
Projects: SDO-AIA,SoHO-LASCO,STEREO

Publication Status: ApJ 2014, 794 148
Last Modified: 2014-10-14 09:58
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Abstracts by Author
The density compression ratio of shock fronts associated with coronal mass ejections
Investigating the Wave Nature of the Outer Envelope of Halo Coronal Mass Ejections
Are Halo-like Solar Coronal Mass Ejections Merely a Matter of Geometric Projection Effects?
NEW INSIGHTS INTO THE PHYSICAL NATURE OF CORONAL MASS EJECTIONS AND ASSOCIATED SHOCK WAVES WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE THREE-DIMENSIONAL STRUCTURE

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