Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Role of Sunspot and Sunspot-Group Rotation in Driving Sigmoidal Active Region Eruptions

Abstract

We study active region NOAA 9684 (N06L285) which produced an X1.0/3B flare on November 4, 2001 associated with a fast CME (1810 km s−1) and the largest proton event (31 700 pfu) in cycle 23. SOHO/MDI continuum image data show that a large leading sunspot rotated counter-clockwise around its umbral center for at least 4 days prior to the flare. Moreover, it is found from SOHO/MDI 96 m line-of-sight magnetograms that the systematic tilt angle of the bipolar active region, a proxy for writhe of magnetic fluxtubes, changed from a positive value to a negative one. This signifies a counter-clockwise rotation of the spot-group as a whole. Using vector magnetograms from Huairou Solar Observing Station (HSOS), we find that the twist of the active region magnetic fields is dominantly left handed (αbest = −0.03), and that the vertical current and current helicity are predominantly negative, and mostly distributed within the positive rotating sunspot. The active region exhibits a narrow inverse S-shaped Hα filament and soft X-ray sigmoid distributed along the magnetic neutral line. The portion of the filament which is most closely associated with the rotating sunspot disappeared on November 4, and the corresponding portion of the sigmoid was observed to erupt, producing the flare and initiating the fast CME and proton event. These results imply that the sunspot rotation is a primary driver of helicity production and injection into the corona. We suggest that the observed active region dynamics and subsequent filament and sigmoid eruption are driven by a kink instability which occurred due to a large amount of the helicity injection.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Berger, M. A.: 1984, Geophys. Astrophys. Fluid Dyn. 30, 79.

  2. Berger, T. E. and Lites, B. W.: 2003, Solar Phys. 213, 213.

  3. Brown, D., Nightingale, R., Alexander, D., Schrijver, C., et al.: 2003, Solar Phys. 216, 79.

  4. Canfield, R. C., Hudson, H. S., and McKenzie, D. E.: 1999, Geophys. Res. Lett. 26, 627.

  5. Cannon, A. T. and Marquette, W. H.: 1991, Solar Phys. 131, 69.

  6. Démoulin, P., Mandrini, C. H., Van Driel-Gesztelyi, L., Lopez Fuentes, M. C., and Aulanier, G.: 2002, Solar Phys. 207, 87.

  7. Ding, Y. J., Hong, Q. F., and Wang, H. Z.: 1987, Solar Phys. 102, 221.

  8. Fan, Y., Zweibel, E., Linton, M., and Fisher, G.: 1999, Astrophys. J. 521, 460.

  9. Fan, Y. and Gibson, S. E.: 2004, Astrophys. J. 609, 1123.

  10. Fisher, G. H., Fan, Y. H., Longcope, D. W., and Pevtsov, A. A.: 2000, Solar Phys. 192, 119.

  11. Gibson, S. E., Fan, Y., Mandrini, C., Fisher, G., and Demoulin, P.: 2004, Astrophys. J. 617, 600.

  12. Gilman, P. and Charbonneau, P.: 1999, in M. R. Brown, R. C. Canfield, and A. A. Pevtsov (eds.), Magnetic Helicity in Space and Laboratory Plasmas, Geophysics Monographs 111, AGU, Washengton, DC, p. 75.

  13. Hale, G. E., Ellerman, F., Nicholson, S. B., and Joy, A. H.: 1919, Astrophys. J. 49, 153.

  14. Hale, G. E.: 1927, Nature 119, 708.

  15. Holder, Z., Canfield, R., McMullen, R., Nandy, D., Howard, R., and Pevtsov, A.: 2004, Astrophys. J. 611, 1149.

  16. Hood, A. W.: 1991, in E. R. Priest and A. W. Hood (eds.), Advances in Solar System Magnetohydrodynamics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 307.

  17. Howard, R. F., Sivaraman, K. R., and Gupta, S.: 2000, Solar Phys. 196, 333.

  18. Ishii, T., Asai, A., Kurokawa, H., and Takeuchi, T.: 2003, IAUJD 3E, 15I.

  19. Knoska, S.: 1975, Astron. Inst. Czech. Bull. 26(3), 151.

  20. Linton, M. G., Longcope, D. W., and Fisher, G. H.: 1996, Astrophys. J. 469, 954.

  21. Linton, M. G., Fisher, G. H., Dahlburg, R. B., and Fan, Y.: 1999, Astrophys. J. 522, 1190.

  22. López Fuentes, M., Démoulin, P., Mandrini, C., Pevtsov, A., and van Driel-Gesztelyi, L.: 2003, Astron. Astrophys. 397, 305.

  23. Low, B. C.: 1996, Solar Phys. 167, 217.

  24. Marquette, W. H. and Martin, S. F.: 1988, Solar Phys. 117, 227.

  25. Martin, S., Bilimoria, R., and Tracadas, P.: 1994, in R. J. Rutten and C. J. Schrijver (eds.), Solar Surface Magnetism, NATO ASI Ser. C 433, 303.

  26. McIntosh, P.: 1981, Proceedings of the Conference, Sacramento Peak Observatory, Sunspot, NM, July 14–17, 1981 (A83-18101 06-92), pp. 7.

  27. Nightingale, R. W., Schrijver, C. J., and Derosa, M. L.: 2003, AGU, Fall Meeting.

  28. Nindos, A. and Zhang, H.: 2002, Astrophys. J. 573, L133.

  29. Nindos, A., Zhang, J., and Zhang, H.: 2003, Astrophys. J. 594, 1033.

  30. Pevtsov, A. A., Canfield, R. C., and Metcalf, T. R.: 1995, Astrophys. J. 440, L109.

  31. Radler, K.-H. and Seehafer, N.: 1990, in H. K. Moffatt and A. Tsinober (eds.), Topological Fluid Mechanics, Cambrige University Press, Cambridge, p. 157.

  32. Richardson, R. S.: 1941, Astrophys. J. 93, 24.

  33. Rust, D. M.: Geophys. Res. Let. 21, 241.

  34. Rust, D. M. and Kumar, A.: 1994, Solar Phys. 155, 69.

  35. Rust, D. M. and Kumar, A.: 1996, Astrophys. J. 464, L199.

  36. Rust, D. and LaBonte, B. J.: 2005, Astrophys. J. 622, L69.

  37. Romano, P., Contarino, L., and Zuccarello, F.: 2005, Astron. Astrophy. 433, 683.

  38. Seehafer, N.: 1990, Solar Phys. 125, 219.

  39. Seehafer, N.: 1996, Phys. Rev. E 53, 1283.

  40. Sterling, A. and Hudson, H.: 1997, Astrophys. J. 491, L55.

  41. Tian, L., Liu, Y., Yang, J., and Alexander, D.: 2005a, Solar Phys. 229, 237.

  42. Tian, L., Alexander, D., Liu, Y., and Yang, J.: 2005b, Solar Phys. 229, 63.

  43. Tian, L. and Liu, Y.: 2003, Astron. Astrophys. 407, L13.

  44. Tian, L., Bao, S., Zhang, H., and Wang, H.: 2001, Astron. Astrophys. 374, 294.

  45. Wang, J., Shi, Zh., Wang, H., and Lü, Y.: 1996, Astrophys. J. 456, 861.

  46. Wang, T. and Abramenko, V.: 2000, Astron. Astrophys. 357, 1056.

  47. Zhou, Sh. and Zheng, X.: 1998, Solar Phys. 181, 327.

  48. Zirin, H.: 1988, Astrophysics of the Sun, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 307.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Lirong Tian.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Tian, L., Alexander, D. Role of Sunspot and Sunspot-Group Rotation in Driving Sigmoidal Active Region Eruptions. Sol Phys 233, 29–43 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-006-2505-z

Download citation

Keywords

  • Flare
  • Proton Event
  • Active Region NOAA
  • Current Helicity
  • Magnetic Neutral Line