Flux Rope Dynamics for Loop Prominences, Coronal Mass Ejections and Interplanetary Magnetic Clouds

  1. J. H. Waite Jr.,
  2. J. L. Burch and
  3. R. L. Moore
  1. Tyan Yeh

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM054p0299

Solar System Plasma Physics

Solar System Plasma Physics

How to Cite

Yeh, T. (1989) Flux Rope Dynamics for Loop Prominences, Coronal Mass Ejections and Interplanetary Magnetic Clouds, in Solar System Plasma Physics (eds J. H. Waite, J. L. Burch and R. L. Moore), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM054p0299

Author Information

  1. Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1989

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900742

Online ISBN: 9781118664315



  • Space plasmas;
  • Sun;
  • Magnetosphere;
  • Astrophysics


Many solar and interplanetary phenomena involve magnetic flux ropes immersed in magnetized media. Notable examples are loop prominences, loop-like coronal mass ejections, and interplanetary magnetic clouds. These objects have the common feature that they are magnetically separated from their surrounding media. Their temporal evolutions can be described by flux rope dynamics. A flux rope is subjected to external and internal forces. The external forces consist of the gravitational force exerted on the distributed mass of the flux rope by the massive Sun and the hydromagnetic buoyancy force exerted by the surrounding medium. The hydromagnetic buoyancy force includes hydrostatic, hydrodynamic, and diamagnetic buoyancy forces. The diamagnetic force amounts to the magnetic force exerted on the distributed current in the flux rope by external currents. The internal forces consist of the magnetic force on various parts of the internal current by other parts and the pressure gradient force resulting from the pressure difference between internal and external thermal pressures. The external forces drive the translational motion of the flux rope, while the internal forces drive its expansional motion. The translational motion determines the temporal displacement of the centroidal axis of the flux rope, and the expansional motion determines the displacements of various mass elements relative to the axis. The sum of translational and expansional motions is the resultant motion.