Discovery of a New Class of Coronal Structures in White Light Eclipse Images

Miloslav Druckmüller, Shadia Rifai Habbal, Huw Morgan

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White light images of the solar corona, taken during total solar eclipses, capture the complex dynamic relationship between the coronal plasma and the magnetic field. This relationship can be recorded on timescales of seconds to minutes, within a few solar radii above the solar surface. Rays, large-scale loops, and streamers, which are the brightest structures in these images, have shaped current models of the coronal magnetic field and solar wind flow. We show in this work how the application of novel image processing techniques to unique high-resolution white light eclipse images reveals the presence of a new class of structures, reminiscent of smoke rings, faint nested expanding loops, expanding bubbles, and twisted helical structures. These features are interpreted as snapshots of the dynamical evolution of instabilities developing at prominence-corona interfaces and propagating outward with the solar wind.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date21 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2014


  • eclipses
  • instabilities
  • solar wind
  • sun
  • corona
  • sun: filaments
  • prominences


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