Eruption of a Bifurcated Solar Filament
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- Zhu, C. & Alexander, D. Sol Phys (2014) 289: 279. doi:10.1007/s11207-013-0349-x
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We study the partial eruption of a solar filament observed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory-Ahead (STEREO-A) spacecraft on 9 May 2012. This filament was located in Active Region NOAA 11475 and consisted of two distinct branches, separated in height above the active region’s primary polarity-inversion line. For two days prior to the filament eruption, several threads of filament material were observed to connect the lower branch to the upper branch with evidence of a transfer of mass along them. The eruption commenced as a slow rise of the upper branch that began at 9 May 2012 23:40 UT, with the main eruption occurring half an hour later, producing a coronal mass ejection (CME). During the eruption, the upper branch was observed to rotate approximately 120 degrees in a counter-clockwise direction. We suggest that the mass transfer events also comprised a transfer of magnetic flux that led the upper branch of the filament to lose equilibrium as a result of a helical kink instability or torus instability.