Using an Ellipsoid Model to Track and Predict the Evolution and Propagation of Coronal Mass Ejections

S. Schreiner, C. Cattell, K. Kersten, A. Hupach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We present a method for tracking and predicting the propagation and evolution of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) using the imagers on the STEREO and SOHO satellites. By empirically modeling the material between the inner core and leading edge of a CME as an expanding, outward propagating ellipsoid, we track its evolution in three-dimensional space. Though more complex empirical CME models have been developed, we examine the accuracy of this relatively simple geometric model, which incorporates relatively few physical assumptions, including i) a constant propagation angle and ii) an azimuthally symmetric structure. Testing our ellipsoid model developed herein on three separate CMEs, we find that it is an effective tool for predicting the arrival of density enhancements and the duration of each event near 1 AU. For each CME studied, the trends in the trajectory, as well as the radial and transverse expansion are studied from 0 to ∼0.3 AU to create predictions at 1 AU with an average accuracy of 2.9 hours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-309
Number of pages19
JournalSolar Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported through a grant from the University of Minnesota Undergraduate Research Program and by NASA grant NNX09AG82G.


  • CME
  • Coronal mass ejection
  • Ellipsoid
  • Evolution
  • Expansion
  • ICME
  • Model
  • Propagation
  • SOHO
  • Solar wind


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