Multispacecraft Observations of Magnetic Clouds and Their Solar Origins between 19 and 23 May 2007


We analyze a series of complex interplanetary events and their solar origins that occurred between 19 and 23 May 2007 using observations by the STEREO and Wind satellites. The analyses demonstrate the new opportunities offered by the STEREO multispacecraft configuration for diagnosing the structure of in situ events and relating them to their solar sources. The investigated period was characterized by two high-speed solar wind streams and magnetic clouds observed in the vicinity of the sector boundary. The observing satellites were separated by a longitudinal distance comparable to the typical radial extent of magnetic clouds at 1 AU (fraction of an AU), and, indeed, clear differences were evident in the records from these spacecraft. Two partial-halo coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were launched from the same active region less than a day apart, the first on 19 May and the second on 20 May 2007. The clear signatures of the magnetic cloud associated with the first CME were observed by STEREO B and Wind while only STEREO A recorded clear signatures of the magnetic cloud associated with the latter CME. Both magnetic clouds appeared to have interacted strongly with the ambient solar wind and the data showed evidence that they were a part of the coronal streamer belt. Wind and STEREO B also recorded a shocklike disturbance propagating inside a magnetic cloud that compressed the field and plasma at the cloud’s trailing portion. The results illustrate how distant multisatellite observations can reveal the complex structure of the extension of the coronal streamer into interplanetary space even during the solar activity minimum.


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Kilpua, E.K.J., Liewer, P.C., Farrugia, C. et al. Multispacecraft Observations of Magnetic Clouds and Their Solar Origins between 19 and 23 May 2007. Sol Phys 254, 325–344 (2009).

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  • Magnetic cloud
  • Solar wind
  • Coronal mass ejection
  • Helmet streamer