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The erupting flux rope model of coronal mass ejections

James Chen


The erupting flux rope model of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) is tested against CME events observed by LASCO/EIT and MK3 instruments.  There appears to be a class of CMEs that can be well explained as erupting flux ropes.  The evidence supporting this interpretation is two-fold: both the observed morphological features and the dynamics of such CMEs are consistent with those predicted by the model of erupting flux ropes. In particular, the CMEs maintain apparent connectivity to the Sun, and the ratio of the height of the leading edge to the transverse width (the aspect) ratio is found to be nearly constant in C2/C3 field of view.  For fast CMEs, the aspect ratio was found to be greater in MK3 data.  Both of these properties are in agreement with the model predictions.  Specific CME events will be used to illustrate various model attributes.  Synthetic coronagraph images of a model flux rope will be discussed.  The model eruption is triggered by emergence/injection of poloidal magnetic flux.  The predicted signatures of such a driving mechanism will be discussed.  The new approach to understanding CME eruption will be contrasted with the traditional quasi-static storage-release paradigm.

  Organization: Naval Research Laboratory
     Telephone: 202-767-3134
           Fax: 202-767-0631
        e-mail: chen@ppdchen.nrl.navy.mil
       Address: Code 6790
   Washington, DC 20375

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