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The Necessity of Filament Eruptions

David M. Rust


Solar filaments are discussed in terms of two contrasting paradigms. The standard paradigm is that filaments are formed by condensation of coronal plasma into magnetic fields that are twisted or dimpled as a consequence of motions of the fields' sources in the photosphere. According to a new paradigm, filaments form in rising, twisted flux tubes and are a necessary intermediate stage in the transfer to interplanetary space of dynamo-generated magnetic flux.  Toroidal magnetic flux ropes with opposite senses of magnetic helicity and field direction in the southern and northern hemispheres must be generated by the dynamo, according to this paradigm, because filaments collectively form such helical toroids in the solar atmosphere.  It is argued that the accumulation of helicity in filaments and their coronal surroundings leads to filament eruptions and coronal mass ejections.  These ejections relieve the Sun of the flux generated by the dynamo and make way for the flux of the next cycle.

  Organization: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab
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