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The Role of Streamers in the Deflection of Coronal Mass Ejections: Comparison between STEREO Three-dimensional Reconstructions and Numerical Simulations

The Role of Streamers in the Deflection of Coronal Mass Ejections: Comparison between STEREO Three-dimensional Reconstructions and Numerical Simulations

Publication date: 01 January 2012

Authors: Zuccarello, F. P. et al

Journal: The Astrophysical Journal
Volume: 744
Issue: 1
Page: 66
Year: 2012

Copyright: IOP Publishing Ltd.

On 2009 September 21, a filament eruption and the associated coronal mass ejection (CME) were observed by the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft. The CME originated from the southern hemisphere and showed a deflection of about 15° toward the heliospheric current sheet (HCS) during the propagation in the COR1 field of view. The CME source region was near the central meridian, but no on-disk CME signatures could be seen from the Earth. The aim of this paper is to provide a physical explanation for the strong deflection of the CME observed on 2009 September 21. The two-sided view of the STEREO spacecraft allows us to reconstruct the three-dimensional travel path of the CME and the evolution of the CME source region. The observations are combined with a magnetohydrodynamic simulation, starting from a magnetic field configuration closely resembling the extrapolated potential field for that date. By applying localized shearing motions, a CME is initiated in the simulation, showing a similar non-radial evolution, structure, and velocity as the observed event. The CME gets deflected toward the current sheet of the larger northern helmet streamer due to an imbalance in the magnetic pressure and tension forces and finally gets into the streamer. This study shows that during solar minima, even CMEs originating from high latitude can be easily deflected toward the HCS, eventually resulting in geoeffective events. How rapidly they undergo this latitudinal migration depends on the strength of both the large-scale coronal magnetic field and the magnetic flux of the erupting filament.

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