Pre-eruptive Magnetic Reconnection within a Multi-flux-rope System in the Solar Corona

Arun Kumar Awasthi, Rui Liu, Haimin Wang, Yuming Wang, Chenglong Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The solar corona is frequently disrupted by coronal mass ejections (CMEs), whose core structure is believed to be a flux rope made of helical magnetic field. This has become a "standard" picture; though, it remains elusive how the flux rope forms and evolves toward eruption. While one-third of the ejecta passing through spacecraft demonstrate a flux-rope structure, the rest have complex magnetic fields. Are they originating from a coherent flux rope, too? Here we investigate the source region of a complex ejecta, focusing on a flare precursor with definitive signatures of magnetic reconnection, i.e., nonthermal electrons, flaring plasma, and bidirectional outflowing blobs. Aided by nonlinear force-free field modeling, we conclude that the reconnection occurs within a system of multiple braided flux ropes with different degrees of coherency. The observation signifies the importance of internal structure and dynamics in understanding CMEs and in predicting their impacts on Earth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number124
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 20 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: X-rays, gamma rays
  • Sun: coronal mass ejections
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: magnetic fields


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