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Why are CMEs large-scale coronal events: nature or nurture?

van Driel-Gesztelyi, L; Attrill, GDR; Demoulin, P; Mandrini, CH; Harra, LK; (2008) Why are CMEs large-scale coronal events: nature or nurture? ANNALES GEOPHYSICAE , 26 (10) 3077 - 3088. Gold open access

Abstract

The apparent contradiction between small-scale source regions of, and large-scale coronal response to, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) has been a long-standing puzzle. For some, CMEs are considered to be inherently large-scale events' eruptions in which a number of flux systems participate in an unspecified manner, while others consider magnetic reconnection in special global topologies to be responsible for the large-scale response of the lower corona to CME events. Some of these ideas may indeed be correct in specific cases. However, what is the key element which makes CMEs large-scale? Observations show that the extent of the coronal disturbance matches the angular width of the CME an important clue, which does not feature strongly in any of the above suggestions. We review observational evidence for the large-scale nature of CME source regions and find them lacking. Then we compare different ideas regarding how CMEs evolve to become large-scale. The large-scale magnetic topology plays an important role in this process. There is amounting evidence, however, that the key process is magnetic reconnection between the CME and other magnetic structures. We outline a CME evolution model, which is able to account for all the key observational signatures of large-scale CMEs and presents a clear picture how large portions of the Sun become constituents of the CME. In this model reconnection is driven by the expansion of the CME core resulting from an over-pressure relative to the pressure in the CME's surroundings. This implies that the extent of the lower coronal signatures match the final angular width of the CME.

Type:Article
Title:Why are CMEs large-scale coronal events: nature or nurture?
Location:Ghent, BELGIUM
Open access status:An open access publication
Publisher version:http://www.annales-geophysicae.net
Keywords:Solar physics, astrophysics and astronomy, Flares and mass ejections, MASS EJECTION ONSET, TRANSEQUATORIAL LOOPS, DIMMING REGIONS, MAGNETIC CLOUDS, SOLAR CORONA, FLARE, WAVE, FLUX, EIT, RECONNECTION
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Space and Climate Physics

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