A Non-Linear Force-Free Field Model for the Evolving Magnetic Structure of Solar Filaments

Duncan Hendry Mackay, Aad van Ballegoijen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper the effect of a small magnetic element approaching the main body of a solar filament is considered through non-linear force-free field modeling. The filament is represented by a series of magnetic dips. Once the dips are calculated, a simple hydrostatic atmosphere model is applied to determine which structures have sufficient column mass depth to be visible in Hα. Two orientations of the bipole are considered, either parallel or anti-parallel to the overlying arcade. The magnetic polarity that lies closest to the filament is then advected towards the filament. Initially for both the dominant and minority polarity advected elements, right/left bearing barbs are produced for dextral/sinsitral filaments. The production of barbs due to dominant polarity elements is a new feature. In later stages the filament breaks into two dipped sections and takes a highly irregular, non-symmetrical form with multiple pillars. The two sections are connected by field lines with double dips even though the twist of the field is less than one turn. Reconnection is not found to play a key role in the break up of the filament. The non-linear force-free fields produce very different results to extrapolated linear-force free fields. For the cases considered here the linear force-free field does not produce the break up of the filament nor the production of barbs as a result of dominant polarity elements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-346
JournalSolar Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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