Reconnectionless CME Eruption: Putting the Aly‐Sturrock Conjecture to Rest
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We demonstrate that magnetic reconnection is not necessary to initiate fast Coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The AlySturrock conjecture states that the magnetic energy of a given forcefree boundary field is maximized when the field is open. This is problematic for CME initiation because it leaves little or no magnetic energy to drive the eruption, unless reconnection is present to allow some of the flux to escape without opening. Thus, it has been thought that reconnection must be present to initiate CMEs. This theory has not been subject to rigorous numerical testing because conventional magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) numerical models contain numerical diffusion, which introduces uncontrolled numerical reconnection. We use a quasiLagrangian simulation technique to run the first controlled experiments of CME initiation in the complete lack of reconnection. We find that a flux rope confined by an arcade, when twisted beyond a critical amount, can escape to an open state, allowing some of the surrounding arcade to shrink, and releasing magnetic energy from the global field. This mechanism includes a true ideal MHD instability. We conclude that reconnection is not a necessary trigger for fast CME eruptions.
Rachmeler, L. A., C. E. DeForest, and C. C. Kankelborg. “RECONNECTIONLESS CME ERUPTION: PUTTING THE ALY-STURROCK CONJECTURE TO REST.” The Astrophysical Journal 693, no. 2 (March 9, 2009): 1431–1436. doi:10.1088/0004-637x/693/2/1431.