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  1. Abstract

    The radial evolution of interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) is dependent on their interaction with the ambient medium, which causes ICME erosion and affects their geoefficiency. Here, an ICME front boundary, which separates the confined ejecta from the mixed, interacted sheath–ejecta plasma upstream, is analyzed in a multipoint study examining the ICME at 1 au on 2020 April 20. A bifurcated current sheet, highly filamented currents, and a two-sided jet were observed at the boundary. The two-sided jet, which was recorded for the first time for a magnetic shear angle <40°, implies multiple (patchy) reconnection sites associated with the ICME erosion. The reconnection exhaust exhibited fine structure, including multistep magnetic field rotation and localized structures that were measured only by separate Cluster spacecraft with the mission inter-spacecraft separation of 0.4–1.6RE. The mixed plasma upstream of the boundary with a precursor at 0.8 au lacked coherency at 1 au and exhibited substantial variations of southward magnetic fields over radial (transverse) distances of 41–237RE(114RE). This incoherence demonstrates the need for continuous (sub)second-resolution plasma and field measurements at multiple locations in the solar wind to adequately address the spatiotemporal structure of ICMEs and to produce accurate space weather predictions.

     
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  2. Abstract

    We present observations and modeling results of the propagation and impact at Earth of a high-latitude, extended filament channel eruption that commenced on 2015 July 9. The coronal mass ejection (CME) that resulted from the filament eruption was associated with a moderate disturbance at Earth. This event could be classified as a so-called “problem storm” because it lacked the usual solar signatures that are characteristic of large, energetic, Earth-directed CMEs that often result in significant geoeffective impacts. We use solar observations to constrain the initial parameters and therefore to model the propagation of the 2015 July 9 eruption from the solar corona up to Earth using 3D magnetohydrodynamic heliospheric simulations with three different configurations of the modeled CME. We find the best match between observed and modeled arrival at Earth for the simulation run that features a toroidal flux rope structure of the CME ejecta, but caution that different approaches may be more or less useful depending on the CME–observer geometry when evaluating the space weather impact of eruptions that are extreme in terms of their large size and high degree of asymmetry. We discuss our results in the context of both advancing our understanding of the physics of CME evolution and future improvements to space weather forecasting.

     
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  3. Streamer-blowout coronal mass ejections (SBO-CMEs) are the dominant CME population during solar minimum. Although they are typically slow and lack clear low-coronal signatures, they can cause geomagnetic storms. With the aid of extrapolated coronal fields and remote observations of the off-limb low corona, we study the initiation of an SBO-CME preceded by consecutive CME eruptions consistent with a multi-stage sympathetic breakout scenario. From inner-heliospheric Parker Solar Probe (PSP) observations, it is evident that the SBO-CME is interacting with the heliospheric magnetic field and plasma sheet structures draped about the CME flux rope. We estimate that 18 ± 11% of the CME’s azimuthal magnetic flux has been eroded through magnetic reconnection and that this erosion began after a heliospheric distance of ∼0.35 AU from the Sun was reached. This observational study has important implications for understanding the initiation of SBO-CMEs and their interaction with the heliospheric surroundings. 
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  4. Abstract

    The transmission of a sheath region driven by an interplanetary coronal mass ejection into the Earth's magnetosheath is studied by investigating in situ magnetic field measurements upstream and downstream of the bow shock during an ICME sheath passage on 15 May 2005. We observe three distinct intervals in the immediate upstream region that included a southward magnetic field component and are traveling foreshocks. These traveling foreshocks were observed in the quasi‐parallel bow shock that hosted backstreaming ions and magnetic fluctuations at ultralow frequencies. The intervals constituting traveling foreshocks in the upstream survive transmission to the Earth's magnetosheath, where their magnetic field, and particularly the southward component, was significantly amplified. Our results further suggest that the magnetic field fluctuations embedded in an ICME sheath may survive the transmission if their frequency is below ∼0.01 Hz. Although one of the identified intervals was coherent, extending across the ICME sheath and being long‐lived, predicting ICME sheath magnetic fields that may transmit to the Earth's magnetosheath from the upstream at L1 observations has ambiguity. This can result from the strong spatial variability of the ICME sheath fields in the longitudinal direction, or alternatively from the ICME sheath fields developing substantially within the short time it takes the plasma to propagate from L1 to the bow shock. This study demonstrates the complex interplay ICME sheaths have with the Earth's magnetosphere when passing by the planet.

     
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