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Two Classes of Eruptive Events During Solar Minimum

Bhowmik, P. and Yeates, A. R. (2021) 'Two Classes of Eruptive Events During Solar Minimum.', Solar physics., 296 (7). p. 109.


During solar minimum, the Sun is relatively inactive with few sunspots observed on the solar surface. Consequently, we observe a smaller number of highly energetic events such as solar flares or coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are often associated with active regions on the photosphere. Nonetheless, our magnetofrictional simulations during the minimum period suggest that the solar corona is still dynamically evolving in response to the large-scale shearing velocities on the solar surface. The non-potential evolution of the corona leads to the accumulation of magnetic free energy and helicity, which is periodically shed in eruptive events. We find that these events fall into two distinct classes: One set of events are caused by eruption and ejection of low-lying coronal flux ropes, and they could explain the origin of occasional CMEs during solar minimum. The other set of events are not driven by destabilisation of low-lying structures but rather by eruption of overlying sheared arcades. These could be associated with streamer blowouts or stealth CMEs. The two classes differ significantly in the amount of magnetic flux and helicity shed through the outer coronal boundary. We additionally explore how other measurables such as current, open magnetic flux, free energy, coronal holes, and the horizontal component of the magnetic field on the outer model boundary vary during the two classes of event. This study emphasises the importance and necessity of understanding the dynamics of the coronal magnetic field during solar minimum.

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Publisher statement:Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Date accepted:26 May 2021
Date deposited:13 August 2021
Date of first online publication:02 July 2021
Date first made open access:13 August 2021

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