What is the best method to calculate the solar wind propagation delay?
Abstract. We present a statistical study of propagation times of solar wind discontinuities between Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft orbiting the L1 libration point and the Cluster quartet of spacecraft near the Earth's magnetopause. The propagation times for almost 200 events are compared with the predicted times from four different models. The simplest model assumes a constant convective motion of solar wind disturbances along the Sun-Earth line, whereas more sophisticated models take the orientation of the discontinuity as well as the real positions of the solar wind monitor and target into account. The results show that taking orientation and real position of the solar wind monitor and target into account gives a more precise time delay estimation in most cases. In particular, we show that recent modifications to the minimum variance technique can improve the estimation of propagation times of solar wind discontinuities.