Dynamics and internal structure of an eruptive prominence

Research paper by B. Vršnak

Indexed on: 01 May '90Published on: 01 May '90Published in: Solar Physics


The kinematics and the development of the internal structure in the eruptive prominence of August 16, 1988 are described. The prominence exposed helical structure, and the pitch of the fine structure filaments was measured. The evolution of the pitch was measured in the legs of the prominence and at its summit from the pre-eruptive phase up to the late phases of the eruption. The pitch angle was decreasing in the legs as well as at the summit. However, the observations indicate that the integral twist remained constant. The prominence was twisted more at the summit where it was wider than in the legs. The ‘effective’ twist at the prominence summit was approximately 20 π and in the legs it amounted to about 8 π. Such a ratio did not change during the eruption, i.e., no redistribution of the twist was observed within the accuracy of measurements. The nature of the instability causing the eruption is discussed and the energetics of the process is considered.