Solar Physics

, 293:60 | Cite as

Connecting Coronal Mass Ejections to Their Solar Active Region Sources: Combining Results from the HELCATS and FLARECAST Projects

  • Sophie A. Murray
  • Jordan A. Guerra
  • Pietro Zucca
  • Sung-Hong Park
  • Eoin P. Carley
  • Peter T. Gallagher
  • Nicole Vilmer
  • Volker Bothmer


Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and other solar eruptive phenomena can be physically linked by combining data from a multitude of ground-based and space-based instruments alongside models; however, this can be challenging for automated operational systems. The EU Framework Package 7 HELCATS project provides catalogues of CME observations and properties from the Heliospheric Imagers on board the two NASA/STEREO spacecraft in order to track the evolution of CMEs in the inner heliosphere. From the main HICAT catalogue of over 2,000 CME detections, an automated algorithm has been developed to connect the CMEs observed by STEREO to any corresponding solar flares and active-region (AR) sources on the solar surface. CME kinematic properties, such as speed and angular width, are compared with AR magnetic field properties, such as magnetic flux, area, and neutral line characteristics. The resulting LOWCAT catalogue is also compared to the extensive AR property database created by the EU Horizon 2020 FLARECAST project, which provides more complex magnetic field parameters derived from vector magnetograms. Initial statistical analysis has been undertaken on the new data to provide insight into the link between flare and CME events, and characteristics of eruptive ARs. Warning thresholds determined from analysis of the evolution of these parameters is shown to be a useful output for operational space weather purposes. Parameters of particular interest for further analysis include total unsigned flux, vertical current, and current helicity. The automated method developed to create the LOWCAT catalogue may also be useful for future efforts to develop operational CME forecasting.


Active regions, magnetic fields Coronal mass ejections, initiation and propagation Flares, forecasting, relation to magnetic field Sunspots, magnetic fields 



The FLARECAST database is available at , HICAT catalogue at , and LOWCAT at . The code used to analyse these datasets to create the figures in this paper can be found on GitHub ( ). The authors wish to acknowledge the use of Overleaf to prepare the manuscript, and also the following Python libraries and packages used when creating the figures in this paper: Astropy, Matplotlib, NumPy, pandas, Plotly, SciPy, and SunPy. The STEREO/SECCHI data used here are produced by an international consortium of the Naval Research Laboratory (USA), Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory (USA), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (USA), Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK), University of Birmingham (UK), Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung (Germany), Centre Spatial de Liège (Belgium), Institut d’Optique Théorique et Appliqué (France), and Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale (France). SDO is a mission for NASA’s Living With a Star (LWS) program, with the SDO/HMI data provided by the Joint Science Operation Center (JSOC). E.C., P.Z., and S.A.M were supported by the European Union Seventh Framework Program under grant agreement No. 606692 (HELCATS project). J.G.A., S.A.M., and S.-H.P were supported by the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 640216 (FLARECAST project). VB acknowledges support of the CGAUSS (Coronagraphic German and US Solar Probe Plus Survey) project for WISPR by the German Space Agency DLR under grant 50 OL 1601. S.A.M. acknowledges the IRC Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme and AFOSR award FA9550-17-1-039. The authors would like to thank the anonymous referee for their suggestions to improve the paper.

Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Astrophysics Research Group, School of PhysicsTrinity College DublinDublinIreland
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsVillanova UniversityVillanovaUSA
  3. 3.ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio AstronomyDwingelooThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research (ISEE)Nagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  5. 5.LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Sorbonne Universitès, UPMC Univ. Paris 06Univ. Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris CitèMeudonFrance
  6. 6.Station de Radioastronomie de Nancay, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRSUniv. OrleànsNancayFrance
  7. 7.Institute of AstrophysicsUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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