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Forward modelling to determine the observational signatures of white-light imaging and interplanetary scintillation for the propagation of an interplanetary shock in the ecliptic plane

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Ming Xiong
  • A. R. Breen
  • M. M. Bisi
  • M. J. Owens
  • R. A. Fallows
  • G. D. Dorrian
  • J. A. Davies
  • P. Thomasson
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>20/06/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Number of pages11
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Recent coordinated observations of interplanetary scintillation (IPS) from the EISCAT, MERLIN, and STELab, and stereoscopic white-light imaging from the two heliospheric imagers (His) onboard the twin STEREO spacecraft are significant to continuously track the propagation and evolution of solar eruptions throughout interplanetary space. In order to obtain a better understanding of the observational signatures in these two remote-sensing techniques, the magnetohydrodynamics of the macro-scale interplanetary disturbance and the radio-wave scattering of the micro-scale electron-density fluctuation are coupled and investigated using a newly constructed multi-scale numerical model. This model is then applied to a case of an interplanetary shock propagation within the ecliptic plane. The shock could be nearly invisible to an HI, once entering the Thomson-scattering sphere of the HI. The asymmetry in the optical images between the western and eastern His suggests the shock propagation off the Sun-Earth line. Meanwhile, an IPS signal, strongly dependent on the local electron density, is insensitive to the density cavity far downstream of the shock front. When this cavity (or the shock nose) is cut through by an IPS ray-path, a single speed component at the flank (or the nose) of the shock can be recorded: when an IPS ray-path penetrates the sheath between the shock nose and this cavity, two speed components at the sheath and flank can be detected. Moreover, once a shock front touches an IPS ray-path, the derived position and speed at the irregularity source of this IPS signal, together with an assumption of a radial and constant propagation of the shock, can be used to estimate the later appearance of the shock front in the elongation of the HI field of view. The results of synthetic measurements from forward modelling are helpful in inferring the in-situ properties of coronal mass ejection from real observational data via an inverse approach. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.