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Journal Article

When do solar erupting hot magnetic flux ropes form?


Cheng,  Xin
Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Nindos, A., Patsourakos, S., Vourlidas, A., Cheng, X., & Zhang, J. (2020). When do solar erupting hot magnetic flux ropes form? Astronomy and Astrophysics, 642: A109. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/202038832.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-5AA6-9
Aims. We investigate the formation times of eruptive magnetic flux ropes relative to the onset of solar eruptions, which is important for constraining models of coronal mass ejection (CME) initiation. Methods. We inspected uninterrupted sequences of 131 Å images that spanned more than eight hours and were obtained by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory to identify the formation times of hot flux ropes that erupted in CMEs from locations close to the limb. The appearance of the flux ropes as well as their evolution toward eruptions were determined using morphological criteria. Results. Two-thirds (20/30) of the flux ropes were formed well before the onset of the eruption (from 51 min to more than eight hours), and their formation was associated with the occurrence of a confined flare. We also found four events with preexisting hot flux ropes whose formations occurred a matter of minutes (from three to 39) prior to the eruptions without any association with distinct confined flare activity. Six flux ropes were formed once the eruptions were underway. However, in three of them, prominence material could be seen in 131 Å images, which may indicate the presence of preexisting flux ropes that were not hot. The formation patterns of the last three groups of hot flux ropes did not show significant differences. For the whole population of events, the mean and median values of the time difference between the onset of the eruptive flare and the appearance of the hot flux rope were 151 and 98 min, respectively. Conclusions. Our results provide, on average, indirect support for CME models that involve preexisting flux ropes; on the other hand, for a third of the events, models in which the ejected flux rope is formed during the eruption appear more appropriate.