Articles | Volume 22, issue 10
03 Nov 2004
 | 03 Nov 2004

A numerical study of the interaction between two ejecta in the interplanetary medium: one- and two-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations

A. Gonzalez-Esparza, A. Santillán, and J. Ferrer

Abstract. We studied the heliospheric evolution in one and two dimensions of the interaction between two ejecta-like disturbances beyond the critical point: a faster ejecta 2 overtaking a previously launched slower ejecta 1. The study is based on a hydrodynamic model using the ZEUS-3-D code. This model can be applied to those cases where the interaction occurs far away from the Sun and there is no merging (magnetic reconnection) between the two ejecta. The simulation shows that when the faster ejecta 2 overtakes ejecta 1 there is an interchange of momentum between the two ejecta, where the leading ejecta 1 accelerates and the tracking ejecta 2 decelerates. Both ejecta tend to arrive at 1AU having similar speeds, but with the front of ejecta 1 propagating faster than the front of ejecta 2. The momentum is transferred from ejecta 2 to ejecta 1 when the shock initially driven by ejecta 2 passes through ejecta 1. Eventually the two shock waves driven by the two ejecta merge together into a single stronger shock. The 2-D simulation shows that the evolution of the interaction can be very complex and there are very different signatures of the same event at different viewing angles; however, the transferring of momentum between the two ejecta follows the same physical mechanism described above. These results are in qualitative agreement with in-situ plasma observations of "multiple magnetic clouds" detected at 1AU.