A solar eruption driven by rapid sunspot rotation

Guiping Ruan, Yao Chen, Shuo Wang, Hongqi Zhang, Gang Li, Ju Jing, Jiangtao Su, Xing Li, Haiqing Xu, Guohui Du, Haimin Wang

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38 Scopus citations


We present the observation of a major solar eruption that is associated with fast sunspot rotation. The event includes a sigmoidal filament eruption, a coronal mass ejection, and a GOES X2.1 flare from NOAA active region 11283. The filament and some overlying arcades were partially rooted in a sunspot. The sunspot rotated at ∼10° hr-1 during a period of 6 hr prior to the eruption. In this period, the filament was found to rise gradually along with the sunspot rotation. Based on the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager observation, for an area along the polarity inversion line underneath the filament, we found gradual pre-eruption decreases of both the mean strength of the photospheric horizontal field (Bh ) and the mean inclination angle between the vector magnetic field and the local radial (or vertical) direction. These observations are consistent with the pre-eruption gradual rising of the filament-associated magnetic structure. In addition, according to the nonlinear force-free field reconstruction of the coronal magnetic field, a pre-eruption magnetic flux rope structure is found to be in alignment with the filament, and a considerable amount of magnetic energy was transported to the corona during the period of sunspot rotation. Our study provides evidence that in this event sunspot rotation plays an important role in twisting, energizing, and destabilizing the coronal filament-flux rope system, and led to the eruption. We also propose that the pre-event evolution of Bh may be used to discern the driving mechanism of eruptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number165
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs)
  • Sun: filaments prominences
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: photosphere


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