Coronal heating in multiple magnetic threads

Kuan Vai Tam, Alan William Hood, Philippa Browning, Peter Cargill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Context. Heating the solar corona to several million degrees requires the conversion of magnetic energy into thermal energy. In this paper, we investigate whether an unstable magnetic thread within a coronal loop can destabilise a
neighbouring magnetic thread.
Aims. By running a series of simulations, we aim to understand under what conditions the destabilisation of a single magnetic thread can also trigger a release of energy in a nearby thread.
Methods. The 3D magnetohydrodynamics code, Lare3d, is used to simulate the temporal evolution of coronal magnetic fields during a kink instability and the subsequent relaxation process. We assume that a coronal magnetic loop consists
of non-potential magnetic threads that are initially in an equilibrium state.
Results. The non-linear kink instability in one magnetic thread forms a helical current sheet and initiates magnetic reconnection. The current sheet fragments, and magnetic energy is released throughout that thread. We find that, under certain conditions, this event can destabilise a nearby thread, which is a necessary requirement for starting an avalanche of energy release in magnetic threads.
Conclusions. It is possible to initiate an energy release in a nearby, non-potential magnetic thread, because the energy released from one unstable magnetic thread can trigger energy release in nearby threads, provided that the nearby structures are close to marginal stability.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA122
Number of pages16
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Early online date1 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: magnetic fields
  • Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • Magnetic reconnection
  • Coronal heating
  • Avalanche


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