Can solar wind viscous drag account for coronal mass ejection deceleration?



[1] The forces acting on solar Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) in the interplanetary medium have been evaluated so far in terms of an empirical drag coefficient CD ∼ 1 that quantifies the role of the aerodynamic drag experienced by a typical CME due to its interaction with the ambient solar wind. We use a microphysical prescription for viscosity in the turbulent solar wind to obtain an analytical model for the drag coefficient CD. This is the first physical characterization of the aerodynamic drag experienced by CMEs. We use this physically motivated prescription for CD in a simple, 1D model for CME propagation to obtain velocity profiles and travel times that agree well with observations of deceleration experienced by fast CMEs.