Research Topic

Magnetic Flux Ropes: From the Sun to the Earth and Beyond

About this Research Topic

The eruptions in the solar atmosphere exhibit distinctly diverse patterns across a vast range of spatio-temporal scales, from ever-expanding large-scale coronal mass ejections (CMEs), to localized flares within active regions harboring sunspots, to collimated jets down to the resolution limit of modern telescopes. These energetic phenomena are the dominant contributors to the adverse space weather effects on Earth. Fifty years of studies on flares and CMEs have largely converged to models centered on a magnetic flux rope consisting of helical magnetic field lines: when the flux rope is destabilized a current sheet develops underneath, where successive magnetic reconnections add layers of plasma and magnetic flux to the snowballing CME bubble and simultaneously produce flare loops beneath the current sheet. Recent observations and models even suggest that a similar mechanism involving a mini flux rope works for jets on much smaller scales. Erupted flux ropes propagate into the interplanetary space, generating geo-effective magnetic clouds and driving shocks which in turn produce energetic particles. However, many challenging questions remain open, e.g., the origin of flux ropes and their evolutionary paths toward destabilization are still elusive; their internal structures are essentially unknown; knowledge about their interactions with each other and with surrounding magnetic fields and plasma has been an advancing forefront.

As the core structure, flux ropes are the key to our understanding of solar eruptions and to our predictive capability of space weather. Advancing our knowledge on this topic requires a concerted effort from both observers and modelers in the solar and space physics community. The purpose of this Frontiers Research Topic on magnetic flux ropes is to provide a forum to bring together multi-wavelength remote sensing and in-situ diagnostics, to integrate observation and numerical modeling, and to confront established models with new observations.

We welcome original research articles as well as reviews to approach this topic from different perspectives, starting from flux ropes’ formation and evolution in the inner corona, their subsequent propagation and interaction in the outer corona and interplanetary space, to their encounters with spacecrafts at Earth or other planets.

Image taken from a video of the NASA Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) mission (video date: 27 May 2002)


Keywords: Sun, magnetic flux rope, magnetic twist, coronal mass ejection, filament eruption, magnetic cloud


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The eruptions in the solar atmosphere exhibit distinctly diverse patterns across a vast range of spatio-temporal scales, from ever-expanding large-scale coronal mass ejections (CMEs), to localized flares within active regions harboring sunspots, to collimated jets down to the resolution limit of modern telescopes. These energetic phenomena are the dominant contributors to the adverse space weather effects on Earth. Fifty years of studies on flares and CMEs have largely converged to models centered on a magnetic flux rope consisting of helical magnetic field lines: when the flux rope is destabilized a current sheet develops underneath, where successive magnetic reconnections add layers of plasma and magnetic flux to the snowballing CME bubble and simultaneously produce flare loops beneath the current sheet. Recent observations and models even suggest that a similar mechanism involving a mini flux rope works for jets on much smaller scales. Erupted flux ropes propagate into the interplanetary space, generating geo-effective magnetic clouds and driving shocks which in turn produce energetic particles. However, many challenging questions remain open, e.g., the origin of flux ropes and their evolutionary paths toward destabilization are still elusive; their internal structures are essentially unknown; knowledge about their interactions with each other and with surrounding magnetic fields and plasma has been an advancing forefront.

As the core structure, flux ropes are the key to our understanding of solar eruptions and to our predictive capability of space weather. Advancing our knowledge on this topic requires a concerted effort from both observers and modelers in the solar and space physics community. The purpose of this Frontiers Research Topic on magnetic flux ropes is to provide a forum to bring together multi-wavelength remote sensing and in-situ diagnostics, to integrate observation and numerical modeling, and to confront established models with new observations.

We welcome original research articles as well as reviews to approach this topic from different perspectives, starting from flux ropes’ formation and evolution in the inner corona, their subsequent propagation and interaction in the outer corona and interplanetary space, to their encounters with spacecrafts at Earth or other planets.

Image taken from a video of the NASA Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) mission (video date: 27 May 2002)


Keywords: Sun, magnetic flux rope, magnetic twist, coronal mass ejection, filament eruption, magnetic cloud


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 January 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 January 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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