A Solar Tornado Observed by AIA/SDO: Rotational Flow and Evolution of Magnetic Helicity in a Prominence and Cavity

Xing Li, Huw Morgan, Drew Leonard, Lauren Jeska

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Abstract

During 2011 September 24, as observed by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument of the Solar Dynamic Observatory and ground-based Hα telescopes, a prominence and associated cavity appeared above the southwest limb. On 2011 September 25 8:00 UT, material flows upward from the prominence core along a narrow loop-like structure, accompanied by a rise (>=50,000 km) of the prominence core and the loop. As the loop fades by 10:00, small blobs and streaks of varying brightness rotate around the top part of the prominence and cavity, mimicking a cyclone. The most intense and coherent rotation lasts for over three hours, with emission in both hot (~1 MK) and cold (hydrogen and helium) lines. We suggest that the cyclonic appearance and overall evolution of the structure can be interpreted in terms of the expansion of helical structures into the cavity, and the movement of plasma along helical structures which appears as a rotation when viewed along the helix axis. The coordinated movement of material between prominence and cavity suggests that they are structurally linked. Complexity is great due to the combined effect of these actions and the line-of-sight integration through the structure which contains tangled fields.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberL22
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume752
Issue number2
Early online date29 May 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2012

Keywords

  • Sun: atmosphere
  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: filaments
  • prominences

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