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Observables Indicating Two Major Coronal Mass Ejections During the WHI

Abstract

Two of the five fast (v≳900 km s−1) coronal mass ejections (CMEs) between January 2007 and December 2009 were observed during the Whole Heliosphere Interval (WHI: 20 March – 16 April 2008). The main purpose of this article is to discuss possible observational signatures that could have been used to predict these CMEs. During the WHI, there were three active regions aligned almost East–West in a longitudinal span of about 60°. They were NOAA active region (AR) 10987, 10988, and 10989. In terms of the sunspot area, AR 10988 was the largest. However, the fast CMEs were launched from AR 10989 on 25 March and from AR 10987 on 5 April. One explanation for this may be that AR 10988, unlike the other two regions, emerged underneath a predominantly closed magnetic-field environment, as shown by global magnetic-field extrapolations. Around the times of these CMEs, however, magnetic-field observations of the source regions were essentially missing, because they were close to, or behind, the limb as viewed from Earth. Therefore, we explore an extended view in longitude of the regions from the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO). The two STEREO spacecraft were located ≈ 24° East and West of the Sun–Earth line during the period of interest. We study the frequency of microflares in the three regions and changes in large-scale structures including streamers, but the CMEs do not seem to be correlated with either of them. Instead, activation of filaments or prominences may directly signal subsequent eruptions.

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Correspondence to N. V. Nitta.

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The Sun–Earth Connection near Solar Minimum

Guest Editors: M.M. Bisi, B.A. Emery, and B.J. Thompson

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Nitta, N.V. Observables Indicating Two Major Coronal Mass Ejections During the WHI. Sol Phys 274, 219–232 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-011-9806-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-011-9806-6

Keywords

  • Coronal mass ejections, low coronal signatures
  • Active regions, structure