Solar Physics

, Volume 280, Issue 2, pp 509–523 | Cite as

Uncovering the Birth of a Coronal Mass Ejection from Two-Viewpoint SECCHI Observations

  • A. VourlidasEmail author
  • P. Syntelis
  • K. Tsinganos


We investigate the initiation and formation of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) via a detailed two-viewpoint analysis of low corona observations of a relatively fast CME acquired by the SECCHI instruments aboard the STEREO mission. The event which occurred on 2 January 2008, was chosen because of several unique characteristics. It shows upward motions for at least four hours before the flare peak. Its speed and acceleration profiles exhibit a number of inflections which seem to have a direct counterpart in the GOES light curves. We detect and measure, in 3D, loops that collapse toward the erupting channel while the CME is increasing in size and accelerates. We suggest that these collapsing loops are our first evidence of magnetic evacuation behind the forming CME flux rope. We report the detection of a hot structure which becomes the core of the white light CME. We observe and measure unidirectional flows along the erupting filament channel which may be associated with the eruption process. Finally, we compare these observations to the predictions from the standard flare-CME model and find a very satisfactory agreement. We conclude that the standard flare-CME concept is a reliable representation of the initial stages of CMEs and that multi-viewpoint, high cadence EUV observations can be extremely useful in understanding the formation of CMEs.


Coronal mass ejections, low coronal signatures Coronal mass ejections, initiation and propagation Magnetic reconnection, observational signatures 



We thank the referee for the very useful comments and G. Stenborg for providing the wavelet-enhanced EUVI images and S. Patsourakos for fruitful discussions. The work of AV is supported by NASA contract S-136361-Y to the Naval Research Laboratory. The SECCHI data are produced by an international consortium of the NRL, LMSAL and NASA GSFC (USA), RAL and Univ. Bham (UK), MPS (Germany), CSL (Belgium), IOTA and IAS (France).

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Copyright information

© U.S.A. Governement 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Space Sciences DivisionNaval Research LaboratoryWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Research Center for Astronomy and Applied MathematicsAcademy of AthensAthensGreece
  3. 3.National Observatory of AthensAthensGreece
  4. 4.Section of Astrophysics, Astronomy and Mechanics, Department of PhysicsUniversity of AthensAthensGreece

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