Articles | Volume 35, issue 5
Regular paper
04 Sep 2017
Regular paper |  | 04 Sep 2017

Nanodust dynamics during a coronal mass ejection

Andrzej Czechowski and Jens Kleimann

Abstract. The dynamics of nanometer-sized grains (nanodust) is strongly affected by electromagnetic forces. High-velocity nanodust was proposed as an explanation for the voltage bursts observed by STEREO. A study of nanodust dynamics based on a simple time-stationary model has shown that in the vicinity of the Sun the nanodust is trapped or, outside the trapped region, accelerated to high velocities.

We investigate the nanodust dynamics for a time-dependent solar wind and magnetic field configuration in order to find out what happens to nanodust during a coronal mass ejection (CME).

The plasma flow and the magnetic field during a CME are obtained by numerical simulations using a 3-D magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) code. The equations of motion for the nanodust particles are solved numerically, assuming that the particles are produced from larger bodies moving in near-circular Keplerian orbits within the circumsolar dust cloud. The charge-to-mass ratios for the nanodust particles are taken to be constant in time. The simulation is restricted to the region within 0.14 AU from the Sun.

We find that about 35 % of nanodust particles escape from the computational domain during the CME, reaching very high speeds (up to 1000 km s−1). After the end of the CME the escape continues, but the particle velocities do not exceed 300 km s−1. About 30 % of all particles are trapped in bound non-Keplerian orbits with time-dependent perihelium and aphelium distances. Trapped particles are affected by plasma ion drag, which causes contraction of their orbits.

Short summary
Interplanetary dust also includes very small (nanometer-sized) particles. The dynamics of nanodust is determined by electromagnetic forces, which accelerate the dust to velocities on the order of 500 km s−1 or, in the vicinity of the Sun, trap them in bound orbits. We investigate the behavior of nanodust during a coronal mass ejection. We find a new population of extremely fast (1000 km s−1) nanodust. We also study the effect of the ion drag force.