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Sigmoids as Precursors of Solar Eruptions View all abstracts by submitter

Richard Canfield   Submitted: 2000-03-22 14:05

Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) appear to originate preferentially in regions of the Sun's corona that are sigmoidal, i.e. have sinuous S or reverse-S shapes. Yohkoh solar X-ray images have been studied before and after a modest number of Earth-directed (halo) CMEs. These images tend to show sigmoidal shapes before the eruptions and arcades, cusps, and transient coronal holes after. Using such structures as proxies, it has been shown that there is a relationship between sigmoidal shape and tendency to erupt. Regions in the Sun's corona appear sigmoidal because their magnetic fields are twisted. Some of this twist may originate deep inside the Sun. However, it is significantly modulated by the Coriolis force and turbulent convection as this flux buoys up through the Sun's convection zone. As the result of these phenomena, and perhaps subsequent magnetic reconnection, magnetic flux ropes form. These flux ropes manifest themselves as sigmoids in the corona. Although there are fundamental reasons to expect such flux ropes to be unstable, the physics is not as simple as might first appear, and there exist various explanations for instability. Many gaps need to be filled in before the relationship between sigmoids and CMEs is well enough understood to be a useful predictive tool.

Authors: Canfield, R. C., Hudson, H. S., and Pevtsov, A. A.
Projects: None

Publication Status: IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, 28, 1786 (2000)
Last Modified: 2003-11-03 10:52
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