, Volume 252, Issue 2, pp 349-372
Date: 13 Sep 2008

The Recovery of CME-Related Dimmings and the ICME’s Enduring Magnetic Connection to the Sun

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It is generally accepted that transient coronal holes (TCHs, dimmings) correspond to the magnetic footpoints of CMEs that remain rooted in the Sun as the CME expands out into the interplanetary space. However, the observation that the average intensity of the 12 May 1997 dimmings recover to their pre-eruption intensity in SOHO/EIT data within 48 hours, whilst suprathermal unidirectional electron heat fluxes are observed at 1 AU in the related ICME more than 70 hours after the eruption, leads us to question why and how the dimmings disappear whilst the magnetic connectivity is maintained. We also examine two other CME-related dimming events: 13 May 2005 and 6 July 2006. We study the morphology of the dimmings and how they recover. We find that, far from exhibiting a uniform intensity, dimmings observed in SOHO/EIT data have a deep central core and a more shallow extended dimming area. The dimmings recover not only by shrinking of their outer boundaries but also by internal brightenings. We quantitatively demonstrate that the model developed by Fisk and Schwadron (Astrophys. J. 560, 425, 2001) of interchange reconnections between “open” magnetic field and small coronal loops is a strong candidate for the mechanism facilitating the recovery of the dimmings. This process disperses the concentration of  “open” magnetic field (forming the dimming) out into the surrounding quiet Sun, thus recovering the intensity of the dimmings whilst still maintaining the magnetic connectivity to the Sun.