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The initiation of solar coronal mass ejections by magnetic nonequilibrium
Priest, E. R.
AA(High Altitude Observatory, Boulder, CO)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 328, May 15, 1988, p. 848-855. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
Solar Physics
NASA/STI Keywords:
Magnetohydrodynamic Stability, Solar Corona, Solar Flares, Solar Magnetic Field, Stellar Mass Ejection, Computational Astrophysics, Coronal Loops, Gamma Ray Bursts, Mass Transfer, Solar Maximum Mission
Bibliographic Code:


It is suggested that coronal mass ejections (CMEs) may be initiated when the plasma pressure of magnetic shear in a magnetic arcade (or helmet streamer) builds up so much that magnetic equilibrium is no longer possible. The resulting withdrawal of stabilizing magnetic field lines from the underlying prominence, as the CME moves out, then causes the prominence to rise slowly as a secondary effect, stretching out the neighboring field lines until reconnection allows a rapid eruption of the prominence - in the case of an active region prominence, this in turn may initiate a solar flare. Two simple examples of model coronal arcades are studied which suggest that eruption of arcades and therefore initiation of CMEs may be produced if the magnetic flux or axial plasma (or magnetic) pressure become too great or if the external plasma (or magnetic) pressure or temperature become too small.

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