On the Origin of the Solar Moreton Wave of 2006 December 6

Author: Alan G. Ling
November 1, 2010
Journal Article
The Astrophysical Journal

Balasubramaniam, K.S., , E. W. Cliver , A. Pevtsov , M. Temmer , T. W. Henry , H. S. Hudson , S. Imada , A. G. Ling , R. L. Moore , N. Muhr , D. F. Neidig , G. J. D. Petrie , A. M. Veronig , B. Vrsnak, and S. M. White (2010), On the Origin of the Solar Moreton Wave of 2006 December 6, Astro. Phys. J. 723, 587, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/723/1/587,

We analyzed ground- and space-based observations of the eruptive flare (3B/X6.5) and associated Moreton wave (~850 km s–1; ~270° azimuthal span) of 2006 December 6 to determine the wave driver—either flare pressure pulse (blast) or coronal mass ejection (CME).

Kinematic analysis favors a CME driver of the wave, despite key gaps in coronal data. The CME scenario has a less constrained/smoother velocity versus time profile than is the case for the flare hypothesis and requires an acceleration rate more in accord with observations. The CME picture is based, in part, on the assumption that a strong and impulsive magnetic field change observed by a GONG magnetograph during the rapid rise phase of the flare corresponds to the main acceleration phase of the CME. The Moreton wave evolution tracks the inferred eruption of an extended coronal arcade, overlying a region of weak magnetic field to the west of the principal flare in NOAA active region 10930. Observations of Hα foot point brightenings, disturbance contours in off-band Hα images, and He I 10830 Å flare ribbons trace the eruption from 18:42 to 18:44 UT as it progressed southwest along the arcade. Hinode EIS observations show strong blueshifts at foot points of this arcade during the post-eruption phase, indicating mass outflow. At 18:45 UT, the Moreton wave exhibited two separate arcs (one off each flank of the tip of the arcade) that merged and coalesced by 18:47 UT to form a single smooth wave front, having its maximum amplitude in the southwest direction.

We suggest that the erupting arcade (i.e., CME) expanded laterally to drive a coronal shock responsible for the Moreton wave. We attribute a darkening in Hα from a region underlying the arcade to absorption by faint unresolved post-eruption loops.