, Volume 175, Issue 2, pp 601-612

Eit and LASCO Observations of the Initiation of a Coronal Mass Ejection

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We present the first observations of the initiation of a coronal mass ejection (CME) seen on the disk of the Sun. Observations with the EIT experiment on SOHO show that the CME began in a small volume and was initially associated with slow motions of prominence material and a small brightening at one end of the prominence. Shortly afterward, the prominence was accelerated to about 100 km s-1 and was preceded by a bright loop-like structure, which surrounded an emission void, that traveled out into the corona at a velocity of 200–400 km s-1. These three components, the prominence, the dark void, and the bright loops are typical of CMEs when seen at distance in the corona and here are shown to be present at the earliest stages of the CME. The event was later observed to traverse the LASCO coronagraphs fields of view from 1.1 to 30 R⊙. Of particular interest is the fact that this large-scale event, spanning as much as 70 deg in latitude, originated in a volume with dimensions of roughly 35" (2.5 x 104 km). Further, a disturbance that propagated across the disk and a chain of activity near the limb may also be associated with this event as well as a considerable degree of activity near the west limb.