Articles | Volume 22, issue 12
22 Dec 2004
 | 22 Dec 2004

Non-radial solar wind flows induced by the motion of interplanetary coronal mass ejections

M. Owens and P. Cargill

Abstract. A survey of the non-radial flows (NRFs) during nearly five years of interplanetary observations revealed the average non-radial speed of the solar wind flows to be ~30km/s, with approximately one-half of the large (>100km/s) NRFs associated with ICMEs. Conversely, the average non-radial flow speed upstream of all ICMEs is ~100km/s, with just over one-third preceded by large NRFs. These upstream flow deflections are analysed in the context of the large-scale structure of the driving ICME. We chose 5 magnetic clouds with relatively uncomplicated upstream flow deflections. Using variance analysis it was possible to infer the local axis orientation, and to qualitatively estimate the point of interception of the spacecraft with the ICME. For all 5 events the observed upstream flows were in agreement with the point of interception predicted by variance analysis. Thus we conclude that the upstream flow deflections in these events are in accord with the current concept of the large-scale structure of an ICME: a curved axial loop connected to the Sun, bounded by a curved (though not necessarily circular) cross section.

Key words. Interplanetary physics (flare and stream dynamics; interplanetary magnetic fields; interplanetary shocks)