Solar Physics

, Volume 282, Issue 1, pp 201-220

First online:

Stereoscopic Analysis of the 31 August 2007 Prominence Eruption and Coronal Mass Ejection

  • P. C. LiewerAffiliated withJet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology Email author 
  • , O. PanasencoAffiliated withHelio Research
  • , J. R. HallAffiliated withJet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

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The spectacular prominence eruption and CME of 31 August 2007 are analyzed stereoscopically using data from NASA’s twin Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft. The technique of tie pointing and triangulation (T&T) is used to reconstruct the prominence (or filament when seen on the disk) before and during the eruption. For the first time, a filament barb is reconstructed in three-dimensions, confirming that the barb connects the filament spine to the solar surface. The chirality of the filament system is determined from the barb and magnetogram and confirmed by the skew of the loops of the post-eruptive arcade relative to the polarity reversal boundary below. The T&T analysis shows that the filament rotates as it erupts in the direction expected for a filament system of the given chirality. While the prominence begins to rotate in the slow-rise phase, most of the rotation occurs during the fast-rise phase, after formation of the CME begins. The stereoscopic analysis also allows us to analyze the spatial relationships among various features of the eruption including the pre-eruptive filament, the flare ribbons, the erupting prominence, and the cavity of the coronal mass ejection (CME). We find that erupting prominence strands and the CME have different (non-radial) trajectories; we relate the trajectories to the structure of the coronal magnetic fields. The possible cause of the eruption is also discussed.


Corona Coronal mass ejection Filament eruption Prominence