The Wind magnetic cloud and events of October 18-20, 1995: interplanetary properties and as triggers for geomagnetic activity

R. P. Lepping, L. F. Burlaga, A. Szabo, K. W. Ogilvie, W. H. Mish, D. Vassiliadis, A. J. Lazarus, J. T. Steinberg, C. J. Farrugia, L. Janoo, and F. Mariani

Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771


Late on October 18, 1995, a magnetic cloud arrived at the WIND spacecraft » 175 RE upstream of the Earth. The cloud had an intense interplanetary magnetic field that varied slowly in direction, from being strongly southward to strongly northward during its » 30 hours duration, and a low proton temperature throughout. From a linear force free field model the cloud was shown to have a flux rope magnetic field line geometry, an estimated diameter of about 0.27 AU, and an axis that was aligned with the Y axis (GSE) with about 25° . A corotating stream, in which large amplitude Alfven waves of about 0.5 hour period were observed, was overtaking the cloud and intensifying the fields in the rear of the cloud. The prolonged southward magnetic field observed in the early part of the cloud produced a geomagnetic storm of Kp=7 and considerable auroral activity late on October 18. About 8 hours in front of the cloud and interplanetary shock occurred. About three-fourths the way into the cloud another apparent interplanetary shock was observed. It had an unusual propagation direction, differing by only 21° from alignment with the cloud axis. It may have been the result of the interaction with the post cloud stream, compressing the cloud, or was possibly due to an independent solar event. It is shown that the front and rear boundaries of the cloud and the upstream driven shock had surface normals in good agreement with the cloud axis in the ecliptic plane. The integrated Poynting flux into the magnetosphere, which correlated well with geomagnetic indices, jumped abruptly to a high value upon entry into the magnetic cloud, slowly decreased to zero near its middle, and again reached substantial but sporadic values in the cloud-stream interface region. This report aims to support a variety of ISTP studies raging from the solar origins of these events to resulting magnetospheric responses.

J. Geophys. Res., 102, 14,049-14,063, 1997