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Publication Detail
Decoding the Pre-Eruptive Magnetic Field Configurations of Coronal Mass Ejections
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
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  • Authors:
    Patsourakos S, Vourlidas A, Török T, Kliem B, Antiochos SK, Archontis V, Aulanier G, Cheng X, Chintzoglou G, Georgoulis MK, Green LM, Leake JE, Moore R, Nindos A, Syntelis P, Yardley SL, Yurchyshyn V, Zhang J
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Space Science Reviews
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
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© 2020, Springer Nature B.V. A clear understanding of the nature of the pre-eruptive magnetic field configurations of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) is required for understanding and eventually predicting solar eruptions. Only two, but seemingly disparate, magnetic configurations are considered viable; namely, sheared magnetic arcades (SMA) and magnetic flux ropes (MFR). They can form via three physical mechanisms (flux emergence, flux cancellation, helicity condensation). Whether the CME culprit is an SMA or an MFR, however, has been strongly debated for thirty years. We formed an International Space Science Institute (ISSI) team to address and resolve this issue and report the outcome here. We review the status of the field across modeling and observations, identify the open and closed issues, compile lists of SMA and MFR observables to be tested against observations and outline research activities to close the gaps in our current understanding. We propose that the combination of multi-viewpoint multi-thermal coronal observations and multi-height vector magnetic field measurements is the optimal approach for resolving the issue conclusively. We demonstrate the approach using MHD simulations and synthetic coronal images. Our key conclusion is that the differentiation of pre-eruptive configurations in terms of SMAs and MFRs seems artificial. Both observations and modeling can be made consistent if the pre-eruptive configuration exists in a hybrid state that is continuously evolving from an SMA to an MFR. Thus, the ‘dominant’ nature of a given configuration will largely depend on its evolutionary stage (SMA-like early-on, MFR-like near the eruption).
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