High-resolution hα observations of proper motion in NOAA 8668: Evidence for filament mass injection by chromospheric reconnection

Jongchul Chae, Carsten Denker, Tom J. Spirock, Haimin Wang, Philip R. Goode

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49 Scopus citations


There have been two different kinds of explanations for the source of cool material in prominences or filaments: coronal condensations from above and cool plasma injections from below. In this paper, we present observational results which support filament mass injection by chromospheric reconnection. The observations of an active filament in the active region NOAA 8668 were performed on 17 August 1999 at a wavelength of Hα - 0.6 Å using the 65 cm vacuum reflector, a Zeiss Hα birefringent filter, and a 12-bit SMD digital camera of Big Bear Solar Observatory. The best image was selected every 12 s for an hour based on a frame selection algorithm. All the images were then co-aligned and corrected for local distortion due to the seeing. The time-lapse movie of the data shows that the filament was undergoing ceaseless motion. The Hα flow field has been determined as a function of time using local correlation tracking. Time-averaged flow patterns usually trace local magnetic field lines, as inferred from Hα fibrils and line-of-sight magnetograms. An interesting finding is a transient flow field in a system of small Hα loops, some of which merge into the filament. The flow is associated with a cancelling magnetic feature which is located at one end of the loop system. Initially a diverging flow with speeds below 10 km s-1 is visible at the flux cancellation site. The flow is soon directed along the loops and accelerated up to 40 km s-1 in a few minutes. Some part of the plasma flow then merges into and moves along the filament. This kind of transient flow takes place several times during the observations. Our results clearly demonstrate that reconnection in the photosphere and chromosphere is a likely way to supply cool material to a filament, as well as re-organizing the magnetic field configuration, and, hence, is important in the formation of filaments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-346
Number of pages14
JournalSolar Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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