Changes in Solar Wind Composition Resulting from CMEs
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
A coronal mass ejection (CME) is an expulsion of high charged particles from the sun into the solar system. CMEs can damage satellites, endanger astronauts, and affect powerlines on earth, so understanding and predicting CMEs is a priority. It is hypothesized that an incoming intense CME will push the particles in front, increasing the velocity of these particles. Due to conservation of momentum, it is proposed that the lighter elements will have a greater increase in velocity. Data was collected from the SWICS (Solar Wind Ion Composition Spectrometer) instrument on the ACE (Advanced Composition Explorer) satellite and SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) and analyzed. It was found that with an increase in the ratio of light elements to heavier elements, such as Helium to Oxygen, an intense CME is likely to occur a few days after. However, not all increases of Helium to Oxygen ratio were associated with a CME, especially if the CME was relatively weak. In addition, a 0.9976 correlation was found between the density of Helium particles and the ratio of Helium to Oxygen. It was found that an increase in velocity of Helium also leads to numerous increases in Helium to Oxygen ratio. These indicators may be used to forecast incoming CMEs.