Published in:

Astrophysical Journal 730,1 (2011)


In situ measurements of ion charge states can provide unique insight into the heating and evolution of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) when tested against realistic non-equilibrium ionization modeling. In this work, we investigate the representation of the CME magnetic field as an expanding spheromak configuration, where the plasma heating is prescribed by the choice of anomalous resistivity and the spheromak dynamics. We chose as a test case the 2007 May 19 CME observed by STEREO and ACE. The spheromak is an appealing physical model, because the location and degree of heating are fixed by the choice of anomalous resistivity and the spheromak expansion rate which we constrain with observations. This model can provide the heating required between 1.1R(circle dot) and Earth's orbit to produce charge states observed in the CME flux rope. However, this source of heating in the spheromak alone has difficulty accounting for the rapid heating to Fe-8-Fe11+ at lower heights, as observed in STEREO EUVI due to the rapid radiative cooling that occurs at the high densities involved. Episodes of heating and cooling clearly unrelated to spheromak expansion are observed prior to the eruption, and presumably still play a role during the eruption itself. Spheromak heating is also not capable of reproducing the high Fe charge states (Fe16+ and higher) seen in situ exterior to the flux rope in this CME. Thus, while the spheromak configuration may be a valid model for the magnetic topology, other means of energization are still required to provide much of the rapid heating observed.

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