Estimation of the bias of the Minimum Variance technique in the determination of magnetic clouds global quantities and orientation
Magnetic clouds (MCs) are highly magnetized plasma structures that have a low proton temperature and a magnetic field vector that rotates when seen by a heliospheric observer. More than 25 years of observations of magnetic and plasma properties of MCs at 1 AU have provided significant knowledge of their magnetic structure. However, because in situ observations only give information along the trajectory of the spacecraft, their real 3D magnetic configuration remains still partially unknown. We generate a set of synthetic clouds, exploring the space of parameters that represents the possible orientations and minimum distances of the satellite trajectory to the cloud axis, p. The synthetic clouds have a local cylindrical symmetry and a linear force-free magnetic configuration. From the analysis of synthetic clouds, we quantify the errors introduced in the determination of the orientation/size (and, consequently, of the global magnetohydrodynamic quantities) by the Minimum Variance method when p is not zero.