Wednesday, July 3, 2013

1307.0166 (H. Q. Song et al.)

A Study of Fast Flareless Coronal Mass Ejections    [PDF]

H. Q. Song, Y. Chen, D. D. Ye, G. Q. Han, G. H. Du, G. Li, J. Zhang, Q. Hu
Two major processes have been proposed to convert the coronal magnetic energy into the kinetic energy of a coronal mass ejection (CME): resistive magnetic reconnection and ideal macroscopic magnetohydrodynamic instability of magnetic flux rope. However, it remains elusive whether both processes play a comparable role or one of them prevails during a particular eruption. To shed light on this issue, we carefully studied energetic but flareless CMEs, \textit{i.e.}, fast CMEs not accompanied by any flares. Through searching the Coordinated Data Analysis Workshops (CDAW) database of CMEs observed in Solar Cycle 23, we found 13 such events with speeds larger than 1000 km s$^{-1}$. Other common observational features of these events are: (1) none of them originated in active regions; they were associated with eruptions of well-developed long filaments in quiet-Sun regions, (2) no apparent enhancement of flare emissions was present in soft X-ray, EUV and microwave data. Further studies of two events reveal that (1) the reconnection electric fields, as inferred from the product of the separation speed of post-eruption ribbons and the photospheric magnetic field measurement, were in general weak; (2) the period with a measurable reconnection electric field is considerably shorter than the total filament-CME acceleration time. These observations indicate that, for these fast CMEs, the magnetic energy was released mainly via the ideal flux rope instability through the work done by the large scale Lorentz force acting on the rope currents rather than via magnetic reconnections. We also suggest that reconnections play a less important role in accelerating CMEs in quiet Sun regions of weak magnetic field than those in active regions of strong magnetic field.
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