Formation of Slow Shock Pairs Associated with Coronal Mass Ejections

  1. C. T. Russell,
  2. E. R. Priest and
  3. L. C. Lee
  1. Y. V. Whang

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM058p0393

Physics of Magnetic Flux Ropes

Physics of Magnetic Flux Ropes

How to Cite

Whang, Y. V. (1990) Formation of Slow Shock Pairs Associated with Coronal Mass Ejections, in Physics of Magnetic Flux Ropes (eds C. T. Russell, E. R. Priest and L. C. Lee), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM058p0393

Author Information

  1. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1990

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900261

Online ISBN: 9781118663868



  • Solar photosphere;
  • Magnetic flux;
  • Astrophysics


An MHD model is used to simulate the formation of a forward-reverse slow shock pair in a solar coronal environment. The model uses the Rankine-Hugoniot solution to calculate the jumps in flow properties at all shock crossings. The shocks divide the domain of solution into several continuous flow regions. In each continuous region, the governing equations are solved by the method of characteristics. The initial condition represents the impact of a high-speed (500 km/s) mass ejecta on a low-speed (100 km's) ambient solar wind. The momentum impact compresses the plasma near the front of the coronal mass ejection (CME). Large pressure disturbances propagate in both the forward direction relative to the ambient solar wind and the reverse direction relative to the ejecta flow. The pressure fronts steepen to form forward and reverse MHO shocks. In a β = 0.1 plasma, the resulting shocks consist of a forward slow shock and a reverse slow shock. As the CME associated slow shock pair moves outwards in interplanetary space, it evolves into a pair of fast shocks. The CME and its associated shock pair eventually manifest in interplanetary space as a magnetic cloud accompanied by a fast shock pair: a forward shock precedes the cloud and a reverse shock either within or behind the cloud.