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Small interplanetary magnetic flux rope

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Abstract

Small interplanetary magnetic flux ropes (SIMFRs) are often detected by space satellites in the interplanetary space near 1 AU. These ropes can be fitted by a cylindrically symmetric magnetic model. The durations of SIMFRs are usually <12 h, and the diameters of SIMFRs are <0.20 AU and show power law distribution. Most SIMFRs are observed in the typically slow solar wind (<500 km/s), and only several events are observed with high speed (>700 km/s). Some SIMFRs demonstrate abnormal heavy ion compositions, such as abnormally high He abundance, abnormally high average iron ionization, and enhanced O7+ abundance. These SIMFRs originate from remarkably hot coronal origins. Approximately 74.5% SIMFRs exhibit counter-streaming suprathermal electron signatures. Given their flux rope configuration, SIMFRs are potentially more effective for substorms. SIMFRs and magnetic clouds have many similar observational properties but also show some different observations. These similar properties may indicate that SIMFRs are the interplanetary counterparts of small coronal mass ejections. Some direct bodies of evidence have confirmed that several SIMFRs are interplanetary counterparts of CMEs. However, their different properties may imply that some SIMFRs have interplanetary origins. Therefore, one of the main aims of future research on SIMFRs is to determine whether SIMFRs originate from two different sources, that is, some events are formed in the solar coronal atmosphere, whereas others originate from the interplanetary space. Finally, in this paper, we offer some prospects that should be addressed in the future.

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Correspondence to HengQiang Feng.

Additional information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41674170 and 41804162). The authors would like to thank Dr. TIAN Hui and HUANG Jia for helpful discussion.

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Feng, H., Zhao, G. & Wang, J. Small interplanetary magnetic flux rope. Sci. China Technol. Sci. 63, 183–194 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11431-018-9481-1

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Keywords

  • magnetic flux ropes
  • magnetic cloud
  • coronal mass ejection
  • heliospheric current sheet