Assessing the accuracy of CME speed and trajectory estimates from STEREO observations through a comparison of independent methods
Davis, C. J., Kennedy, J. and Davies, J. A. (2010) Assessing the accuracy of CME speed and trajectory estimates from STEREO observations through a comparison of independent methods. Solar Physics, 263 (1-2). pp. 209-222. ISSN 0038-0938
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s11207-010-9535-2
We have estimated the speed and direction of propagation of a number of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) using single-spacecraft data from the STEREO Heliospheric Imager (HI) wide-field cameras. In general, these values are in good agreement with those predicted by Thernisien, Vourlidas, and Howard in Solar Phys. 256, 111 -aEuro parts per thousand 130 (2009) using a forward modelling method to fit CMEs imaged by the STEREO COR2 coronagraphs. The directions of the CMEs predicted by both techniques are in good agreement despite the fact that many of the CMEs under study travel in directions that cause them to fade rapidly in the HI images. The velocities estimated from both techniques are in general agreement although there are some interesting differences that may provide evidence for the influence of the ambient solar wind on the speed of CMEs. The majority of CMEs with a velocity estimated to be below 400 km s(-1) in the COR2 field of view have higher estimated velocities in the HI field of view, while, conversely, those with COR2 velocities estimated to be above 400 km s(-1) have lower estimated HI velocities. We interpret this as evidence for the deceleration of fast CMEs and the acceleration of slower CMEs by interaction with the ambient solar wind beyond the COR2 field of view. We also show that the uncertainties in our derived parameters are influenced by the range of elongations over which each CME can be tracked. In order to reduce the uncertainty in the predicted arrival time of a CME at 1 Astronomical Unit (AU) to within six hours, the CME needs to be tracked out to at least 30 degrees elongation. This is in good agreement with predictions of the accuracy of our technique based on Monte Carlo simulations.