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How Many CMEs Have Flux Ropes? Deciphering the Signatures of Shocks, Flux Ropes, and Prominences in Coronagraph Observations of CMEs View all abstracts by submitter

Angelos Vourlidas   Submitted: 2012-07-05 15:46

We intend to provide a comprehensive answer to the question on whether all Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) have flux rope structure. To achieve this, we present a synthesis of the LASCO CME observations over the last sixteen years, assisted by 3D MHD simulations of the breakout model, EUV and coronagraphic observations from extsl{STEREO} and extsl{SDO}, and statistics from a revised LASCO CME database. We argue that the bright loop often seen as the CME leading edge is the result of pileup at the boundary of the erupting flux rope irrespective of whether a cavity or, more generally, a 3-part CME can be identified. Based on our previous work on white light shock detection and supported by the MHD simulations, we identify a new type of morphology, the `two-front' morphology. It consists of a faint front followed by diffuse emission and the bright loop-like CME leading edge. We show that the faint front is caused by density compression at a wave (or possibly shock) front driven by the CME. We also present high-detailed multi-wavelength EUV observations that clarify the relative positioning of the prominence at the bottom of a coronal cavity with clear flux rope structure. Finally, we visually check the full LASCO CME database for flux rope structures. In the process, we classify the events into two clear flux rope classes (`3-part', `Loop'), jets and outflows (no clear structure). We find that at least 40% of the observed CMEs have clear flux rope structures and that sim29% of the database entries are either misidentifications or inadequately measured and should be discarded from statistical analyses. We propose a new definition for flux rope CMEs (FR-CMEs) as a coherent magnetic, twist-carrying coronal structure with angular width of at least 40circ and able to reach beyond 10 Rodot which erupts on a time scale of a few minutes to several hours We conclude that flux ropes are a common occurrence in CMEs and pose a challenge for future studies to identify CMEs that are clearly extsl{not/} FR-CMEs.

Authors: A. Vourlidas, B.J. Lynch, R.A. Howard, Y. Li

Publication Status: to be published in Solar Physics
Last Modified: 2012-07-07 14:50
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