Magnetic reconnection ahead of a coronal mass ejection

D. J. McComas, J. T. Gosling, C. M. Hammond, M. B. Moldwin, J. L. Phillips, R. J. Forsyth

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Abstract

On 29 November 1990 the Ulysses spacecraft passed through a series of interplanetary structures which suggest that reconnection had occurred on open field lines ahead of a coronal mass ejection (CME), changing the magnetic topology of the upstream region. We observe in sequence 1) a heat flux dropout, 2) a region of counterstreaming halo electrons which does not appear to be a CME, and 3) a region of counterstreaming halo electrons which is a CME. We suggest an interpretation in which upstream of the CME Ulysses passed first through a region magnetically disconnected from the Sun and then through a region magnetically connected back to the solar corona at both ends, both of which were created by reconnection of open field lines ahead of the CME. Such reconnection provides a method for producing a heat flux dropout / counterstreaming suprathermal electron pair of signatures in interplanetary space that has not been previously described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1751-1754
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume21
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 1994
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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    McComas, D. J., Gosling, J. T., Hammond, C. M., Moldwin, M. B., Phillips, J. L., & Forsyth, R. J. (1994). Magnetic reconnection ahead of a coronal mass ejection. Geophysical Research Letters, 21(17), 1751-1754. https://doi.org/10.1029/94GL01077