3D simulations identifying the effects of varying the twist and field strength of an emerging flux tube

MJ Murray, Alan William Hood, F Moreno-Insertis, Klaus Galsgaard, V Archontis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims. We investigate the effects of varying the magnetic field strength and the twist of a flux tube as it rises through the solar interior and emerges into the atmosphere.

Methods. Using a 3D numerical MHD code, we consider a simple stratified model, comprising of one solar interior layer and three overlying atmospheric layers. We set a horizontal, twisted flux tube in the lowest layer. The specific balance of forces chosen results in the tube being fully buoyant and the temperature is decreased in the ends of the tube to encourage the formation of Omega-shape along the tube's length. We vary the magnetic field strength and twist independently of each other so as to give clear results of the individual effects of each parameter.

Results. We find a self-similar evolution in the rise and emergence of the flux tube when the magnetic field strength of the tube is modified. During the rise through the solar interior, the height of the crest and axis, the velocity of the crest and axis, and the decrease in the magnetic field strength of the axis of the tube are directly dependent upon the initial magnetic field strength given to the tube. No such self-similarity is evident when the twist of the flux tube is changed, due to the complex interaction of the tension force on the rise of the tube. For low magnetic field strength and twist values, we find that the tube cannot fully emerge into the atmosphere once it reaches the top of the interior since the buoyancy instability criterion cannot be fulfilled. For those tubes that do advance into the atmosphere, when the magnetic field strength has been modified, we find further self-similar behaviour in the amount of tube flux transported into the atmosphere. For the tubes that do emerge, the variation in the twist results in the buoyancy instability, and subsequent emergence, occurring at different locations along the tube's length.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-923
Number of pages15
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Volume460
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006

Keywords

  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • Sun : magnetic fields
  • Sun : interior
  • Sun : corona
  • methods : numerical
  • Sun : atmosphere
  • MAGNETIC-FLUX
  • SOLAR ATMOSPHERE
  • CONVECTION ZONE
  • STRATIFIED MEDIUM
  • CURRENT SHEETS
  • EMERGENCE
  • INSTABILITY
  • RECONNECTION
  • JETS
  • EVOLUTION

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