Confined and Ejective Eruptions of Kink-unstable Flux Ropes
The ideal helical kink instability of a force-free coronal magnetic flux rope, anchored in the photosphere, is studied as a model for solar eruptions. Using the flux rope model of Titov and Démoulin as the initial condition in MHD simulations, both the development of helical shape and the rise profile of a confined (or failed) filament eruption (on 2002 May 27) are reproduced in very good agreement with the observations. By modifying the model such that the magnetic field decreases more rapidly with height above the flux rope, a full (or ejective) eruption of the rope is obtained in very good agreement with the developing helical shape and the exponential-to-linear rise profile of a fast coronal mass ejection (CME) on 2001 May 15. This confirms that the helical kink instability of a twisted magnetic flux rope can be the mechanism of the initiation and the initial driver of solar eruptions. The agreement of the simulations with properties that are characteristic of many eruptions suggests that they are often triggered by the kink instability. The decrease of the overlying field with height is a main factor in deciding whether the instability leads to a confined event or to a CME.