1Space Science Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA
2Physikalisches Institut, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
3Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA
4Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, 85741 Garching, Germany
5Institute for Experimental and Applied Physics, Christian-Albrechts-University, Leibnizstr. 11, 24098 Kiel, Germany
6National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 USA
7Space Science Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
8Centre d'Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements (CNRS-UPS), 31028 Toulouse, France
*permanent address: Bahnhofstrasse 54, 3127 Mühlethurnen, Switzerland
Received: 29 May 2009 – Revised: 10 Dec 2009 – Accepted: 16 Dec 2009 – Published: 09 Feb 2010
Abstract. STEREO/PLASTIC determines three-dimensional distributions of solar wind iron ions with unprecedented time resolution. Typically 300 to 1000 counts are registered within each 5 min time interval. For the present study we use the information contained in these distributions to characterize CIRs (Corotating Interaction Regions) in two test cases. We perform a consistency test for both the derived physical parameters and for the analytical model of CIRs of Lee (2000). At 1 AU we find that apart from compositional changes the most indicative parameter for marking the time when a CIR passes a spacecraft is the angular deflection of the flow vector of particles. Changes in particle densities and the changes in magnitudes of speeds are apparently less reliable indicators of stream interfaces.
Citation: Bochsler, P., Lee, M. A., Karrer, R., Jian, L. K., Ellis, L., Farrugia, C. J., Galvin, A. B., Kistler, L. M., Kucharek, H., Möbius, E., Popecki, M. A., Simunac, K. D. C., Blush, L. M., Daoudi, H., Wurz, P., Klecker, B., Wimmer-Schweingruber, R. F., Thompson, B., Luhmann, J. G., Russell, C. T., and Opitz, A.: Diagnostics of corotating interaction regions with the kinetic properties of iron ions as determined with STEREO/PLASTIC, Ann. Geophys., 28, 491-497, doi:10.5194/angeo-28-491-2010, 2010.