This article has an erratum: [erratum]
Volume 531, July 2011
|Number of page(s)||13|
|Published online||04 July 2011|
Rotation of an erupting filament observed by the STEREO EUVI and COR1 instruments⋆
1 INAF-Turin Astronomical Observatory, Pino Torinese (TO), Italy
2 Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium
3 Institute of Geodynamics of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania
4 Research Center for Atomic Physics and Astrophysics, Faculty of Physics, University of Bucharest, Romania
5 Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, Wilberforce Road, Cambridge CB3 0WA, UK
Received: 10 December 2010
Accepted: 5 May 2011
On August 31, 2007, a prominence eruption was observed by the Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) in the Extreme-UltraViolet Imager (EUVI) 304 images and later on, as the core of a three-part coronal mass ejection (CME) in images acquired by the inner STEREO coronagraph (COR1). Because they were covered by both STEREO spacecraft from right vantage points, these observations provide an excellent opportunity to perform a three-dimensional (3D) prominence reconstruction and study its evolution. We employed the tie-pointing technique to reconstruct the 3D shape and trajectory of the prominence, which has been followed from an heliocentric distance of ~1.3 up to ~2.4 R⊙ during the first 1.3 h of eruption. Data show evidence for a progressive clockwise prominence rotation by ~90° occurring not only in the early phase of the eruption sampled by EUVI, but also at larger heliocentric distances as seen by COR1. Interestingly, a counter-clockwise rotation of the filament was observed in Hα images in the week before the eruption; the filament does not show a twisted shape. In the same period, the potential field extrapolated at different times shows a clockwise rotation of closed lines overlying the filament. This suggests that a magnetic helicity storage occurred not in the filament itself, but in the global magnetic field configuration of the surrounding corona. Moreover, close inspection to the high-resolution EUVI images revealed a small scale helical feature along the erupting prominence. The sense of rotation of this helix agrees with the observed prominence rotation, providing evidence for the conversion of twist into writhe. The observed rotation of an erupting prominence, if representative of the flux rope rotation, may have a strong impact on the definition of geo-effectiveness of CMEs for space weather forecasting purposes.
Key words: Sun: filaments, prominences / Sun: corona / Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs)
Two movies are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2011
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