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

The link between CMEs, filaments and filament channels

S. F. Martin, O. Panasenco, O. Engvold, and Y. Lin

Abstract. We present a broad concept for the build-up to eruptive solar events which needs to be tested in future observational and theoretical research. In this concept an eruptive solar event consists of a coronal mass ejection, a filament eruption, a cavity around the filament, and a flare. In our picture, the initial energy source must be external to this eruptive system but also feed into it. Among all eruptive events the common denominator is a filament channel with canceling magnetic fields along a primary polarity reversal boundary. We find that magnetic reconnection at or close to the photosphere is the only interpretation of canceling fields to date that is consistent with observations of filament channels. This reconnection serves to transfer magnetic flux from the photosphere into the chromosphere and corona along polarity reversal boundaries and concurrently initiates the building of a filament channel. Magnetic flux, in excess of that needed to sustain the filament channel, goes into building a filament magnetic field that is always aligned with the polarity reversal boundary and the channel magnetic field. The filament magnetic field remains separated from overarching coronal magnetic fields by the magnetic field of the cavity. The magnetic flux being transported upward from the photosphere/chromosphere carries streams of plasma into the corona along the filament magnetic field. However, the flowing and counterstreaming filament mass also slowly drains out of the field and thereby leaves behind new strands of cavity magnetic field with little or no associated mass. When the build-up of magnetic pressure in the filament and cavity magnetic fields exceeds that of the overlying coronal loops, the coronal loops, the filament and the cavity together begin an observable slow rise which can last a few hours to many days before rapid onset and ejection with a solar flare. We suggest that this process can be accelerated by any number of external triggering mechanisms which serve as catalysts to cause the impending eruption to happen earlier than it otherwise would occur.