International Space Science Institute (ISSI) International Team: Prominence Cavities

Final Report

The genesis of solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs) is both an intellectually intriguing, fundamental unsolved problem in plasma astrophysics, and a societally relevant subject critical to space weather prediction and mitigation. Dark coronal cavities surrounding cool, dense prominence material are observed within CMEs, but also as equilibrium states in the magnetically-dominated corona. Their plasma properties as observed in their quiescent phase provide clues to the nature of such equilibria and how they may ultimately be lost during CMEs.


July 22, 2002 observations of a polar crown filament and associated cavity. Clockwise from top left: HAO MLSO Mk4 white-light coronagraph; Big Bear Solar Observatory H-alpha; SOHO/EIT 284 Angstroms; SOHO/EIT 304 Angstroms. From Gibson et al, 2006.

Team members:
  • Sarah Gibson (team leader), National Center for Astrophysics, High Altitude Observatory
  • Terry Forbes, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire
  • Hugh Hudson, Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley
  • Therese Kucera, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Ben Lynch, Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley
  • Christophe Marqué, Royal Observatory of Belgium
  • Brigitte Schmieder, Observatoire de Paris, Meudon
  • Alphonse Sterling, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA Chief Planner for Hinode satellite, JAXA)
  • Kathy Reeves, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
  • Durgesh Tripathi, Mullard Space Science Laboratory
  • Adriaan van Ballegooijen, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
  • Mei Zhang, National Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences

    Young scientists:
  • Juan Hao, National Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Don Schmit, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Daniel Seaton, Royal Observatory of Belgium
  • Jun Okumura, Kyoto University

    Invited expert
  • Yingna Su


    First meeting: January 13-16, 2009
    Second meeting: November 3-5, 2009

    Cavity proposal to ISSI.
    Project schedule.
    Team resources: observations/presentations/results
    Cavity bibliography.