A twisted flux-tube model for solar prominences. I - General properties

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It is proposed that a solar prominence consists of cool plasma supported in a large-scale curved and twisted magnetic flux tube. As long as the flux tube is untwisted, its curvature is concave toward the solar surface, and so it cannot support dense plasma against gravity. However, when it is twisted sufficiently, individual field lines may acquire a convex curvature near their summits and so provide support. Cool plasma then naturally tends to accumulate in such field line dips either by injection from below or by thermal condensation. As the tube is twisted up further or reconnection takes place below the prominence, one finds a transition from normal to inverse polarity. When the flux tube becomes too long or is twisted too much, it loses stability and its true magnetic geometry as an erupting prominence is revealed more clearly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1010-1025
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1989


  • Cold Plasmas
  • Magnetic Flux
  • Solar Prominences
  • Coriolis Effect
  • Dense Plasmas
  • Solar Magnetic Field


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