Dynamics of Large-scale Coronal Structures as Imaged during the 2012 and 2013 Total Solar Eclipses

Nathalia Alzate, Shadia R. Habbal, Miloslav Druckmüller, Constantinos Emmanouilidis, Huw Morgan

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11 Citations (SciVal)


White light images acquired at the peak of solar activity cycle 24, during the total solar eclipses of 2012 November 13 and 2013 November 3, serendipitously captured erupting prominences accompanied by CMEs. Application of state-of-the-art image processing techniques revealed the intricate details of two "atypical" large-scale structures, with strikingly sharp boundaries. By complementing the processed white light eclipse images with processed images from co-temporal Solar Dynamics Observatory/AIA and SOHO/LASCO observations, we show how the shape of these atypical structures matches the shape of faint CME shock fronts, which traversed the inner corona a few hours prior to the eclipse observations. The two events were not associated with any prominence eruption but were triggered by sudden brightening events on the solar surface accompanied by sprays and jets. The discovery of the indelible impact that frequent and innocuous transient events in the low corona can have on large-scale coronal structures was enabled by the radial span of the high-resolution white light eclipse images, starting from the solar surface out to several solar radii, currently unmatched by any coronagraphic instrumentation. These findings raise the interesting question as to whether large-scale coronal structures can ever be considered stationary. They also point to the existence of a much larger number of CMEs that goes undetected from the suite of instrumentation currently observing the Sun
Original languageEnglish
Article number84
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2017


  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs)
  • Sun: filaments, prominences


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