Articles | Volume 26, issue 10
15 Oct 2008
 | 15 Oct 2008

Causal relationships between eruptive prominences and coronal mass ejections

B. Filippov and S. Koutchmy

Abstract. A close association between eruptive prominences and CMEs, both slow and fast CMEs, was reported in many studies. Sometimes it was possible to follow the material motion starting from the prominence (filament) activation to the CME in the high corona. Remnants of the prominence were found in the bright core of the CME. However, detailed comparisons of the two phenomena reveal problems in explaining CMEs as a continuation of filament eruptions in the upper corona. For example, the heliolatitudes of the disappeared filaments and subsequent coronal ejections sometimes differ by tens of degrees. In order to clear up the problems appearing when considering this association EP-CME, we tentatively analyse the more general question of the dynamics of the generic magnetic flux rope. Prominences and filaments are the best tracers of the flux ropes in the corona long before the beginning of the eruption. A twisted flux rope is held by the tension of field lines of photospheric sources until parameters of the system reach critical values and a catastrophe happens. We suggest that the associated flux rope height above the photosphere is one of these parameters and that it is revealed by the measured height of the filament. 80 filaments were analysed and we found that eruptive prominences were near the so-called limit of stability a few days before their eruptions. We suggest that a comparison of actual heights of prominences with the calculated critical heights from magnetograms could be systematically used to predict filament eruptions and the corresponding CMEs.