The role of filament activation in a solar eruption
1 Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of Catania, via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
2 School of Physics and Astronomy, SUPA, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
3 INAF-Catania Astrophysical Observatory, via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
Received: 15 March 2011
Accepted: 16 December 2011
Context. Observations show that the mutual relationship between filament eruptions and solar flares cannot be described in terms of an unique scenario. In some cases, the eruption of a filament appears to trigger a flare, while in others the observations are more consistent with magnetic reconnection that produces both the flare observational signatures (e.g., ribbons, plasma jets, post-flare loops, etc.) and later the destabilization and eruption of a filament.
Aims. Contributing to a better comprehension of the role played by filament eruptions in solar flares, we study an event which occurred in NOAA 8471, where a flare and the activation of (at least) two filaments were observed on 28 February 1999.
Methods. By using imaging data acquired in the 1216, 1600, 171 and 195 Å TRACE channels and by BBSO in the continnum and in the Hα line, a morphological study of the event is carried out. Moreover, using TRACE 1216 and 1600 Å data, an estimate of the “pure” Lyα power is obtained. The extrapolation of the magnetic field lines is done using the SOHO/MDI magnetograms and assuming a potential field.
Results. Initially an area hosting a filament located over a δ spot becomes brighter than the surroundings, both in the chromosphere and in the corona. This area increases in brightness and extension, eventually assuming a two-ribbon morphology, until it reaches the eastern part of the active region. Here a second filament becomes activated and the brightening propagates to the south, passing over a large supergranular cell. The potential magnetic field extrapolation indicates that the field line connectivity changes after the flare.
Conclusions. The event is triggered by the destabilization of a filament located between the two polarities of a δ spot. This destabilization involves the magnetic arcades of the active region and causes the eruption of a second filament, that gives rise to a CME and to plasma motions over a supergranular cell. We conclude that in this event the two filaments play an active and decisive role, albeit in different stages of the phenomenon, in fact the destabilization of one filament causes brightenings, reconnection and ribbons, while the second one, whose eruption is caused by the field reconfiguration resulting from the previous reconnection, undergoes the greatest changes and causes the CME.
Key words: Sun: activity / Sun: flares / Sun: filaments, prominences / Sun: magnetic topology
© ESO, 2012