Drifting of the line-tied footpoints of CME flux-ropes
LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, Université PSL, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, Université Paris Diderot, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92190
2 Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Scienc es, Fričova 298, 251 65 Ondřejov, Czech Republic
Accepted: 7 November 2018
Context. Bridging the gap between heliospheric and solar observations of eruptions requires the mapping of interplanetary coronal mass ejection (CME) footpoints down to the Sun’s surface. But this not straightforward. Improving the understanding of the spatio-temporal evolutions of eruptive flares requires a comprehensive standard model. But the current model is only two-dimensional and cannot address the question of interplanetary CME footpoints.
Aims. Existing 3D extensions to the standard model show that flux-rope footpoints are surrounded by curved-shaped quasi-separatrix layer (QSL) footprints that can be related with hook-shaped flare-ribbons. We build upon this finding and further address the joint questions of their time-evolution, and of the formation of flare loops at the ends of the flaring polarity inversion line (PIL) of the erupting bipole, which are both relevant for flare understanding in general and for interplanetary CME studies in particular.
Methods. We calculated QSLs and relevant field lines in an MHD simulation of a torus-unstable flux-rope. The evolving QSL footprints are used to define the outer edge of the flux rope at different times, and to identify and characterize new 3D reconnection geometries and sequences that occur above the ends of the flaring PIL. We also analyzed flare-ribbons as observed in the extreme ultraviolet by SDO/AIA and IRIS during two X-class flares.
Results. The flux-rope footpoints are drifting during the eruption, which is unexpected due to line-tying. This drifting is due to a series of coronal reconnections that erode the flux rope on one side and enlarge it on the other side. Other changes in the flux-rope footpoint-area are due to multiple reconnections of individual field lines whose topology can evolve sequentially from arcade to flux rope and finally to flare loop. These are associated with deformations and displacements of QSL footprints, which resemble those of the studied flare ribbons.
Conclusions. Our model predicts continuous deformations and a drifting of interplanetary CME flux-rope footpoints whose areas are surrounded by equally evolving hooked-shaped flare-ribbons, as well as the formation of flare loops at the ends of flaring PILs which originate from the flux-rope itself, both of which being due to purely three-dimensional reconnection geometries. The observed evolution of flare-ribbons in two events supports the model, but more observations are required to test all its predictions.
Key words: magnetic reconnection / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs) / Sun: UV radiation
© ESO 2019
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.