The Expansion of Active Regions into the Extended Solar Corona

Huw Morgan, Lauren Jeska, Andrew Joseph Leonard

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16 Citations (Scopus)
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Advanced image processing of Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph Experiment (LASCO) C2 observations reveals the expansion of the active region closed field into the extended corona. The nested closed-loop systems are large, with an apparent latitudinal extent of 50°, and expanding to heights of at least 12 R ☉. The expansion speeds are ~10 km s–1 in the AIA/SDO field of view, below ~20 km s–1 at 2.3 R ☉, and accelerate linearly to ~60 km s–1 at 5 R ☉. They appear with a frequency of one every ~3 hr over a time period of around three days. They are not coronal mass ejections (CMEs) since their gradual expansion is continuous and steady. They are also faint, with an upper limit of 3% of the brightness of background streamers. Extreme ultraviolet images reveal continuous birth and expansion of hot, bright loops from a new active region at the base of the system. The LASCO images show that the loops span a radial fan-like system of streamers, suggesting that they are not propagating within the main coronal streamer structure. The expanding loops brighten at low heights a few hours prior to a CME eruption, and the expansion process is temporarily halted as the closed field system is swept away. Closed magnetic structures from some active regions are not isolated from the extended corona and solar wind, but can expand to large heights in the form of quiescent expanding loops.
Original languageEnglish
Article number19
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal Supplement Series
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • solar wind
  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs)


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