Space Science Reviews ??, ???−???, 2009
© Springer Science+Business Media B.V

Interplanetary coronal mass ejections observed in the heliosphere: 3. Physical implications

T.A. Howard
Air Force Research Lab., National Solar Observatory, Sunspot, NM 88349
Dep. of Space Studies, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO 80302

S.J. Tappin
Air Force Research Lab., National Solar Observatory, Sunspot, NM 88349


We conclude the heliospheric image series with this third and final instalment, where we consider the physical implications of our reconstruction of interplanetary coronal mass ejections from heliospheric imagers. In Paper 1 a review of the theoretical framework for the appearance of ICMEs in the heliosphere was presented and in Paper 2 a model was developed that extracted the three-dimensional structure and kinematics of interplanetary coronal mass ejections directly from SMEI images. Here we extend the model to include STEREO Heliospheric Imager data and reproduce the three-dimensional structure and kinematic evolution of a single Earth-directed interplanetary coronal mass ejection that was observed in November 2007. These measurements were made with each spacecraft independently using leading edge measurements obtained from each instrument. We found that when data from the three instruments was treated as a single collective, we were able to reproduce an estimate of the ICME structure and trajectory. There were some disparities between the modelled ICME and the in situ data, and we interpret this as a combination of a slightly more than spherically curved ICME structure and a corotating interaction region brought about by the creation of a coronal hole from the CME eruption. This is the first time evidence for such a structure has been presented and we believe that it is likely that many ICMEs are of this nature.