MHD simulations of sunspot rotation and the coronal consequences

CL Gerrard, DS Brown, C Mellor, TD Arber, Alan William Hood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A simplified magnetic configuration is used to model some aspects of observations of a rotating sunspot and its overlying coronal loops. In the observations a large sunspot rotates over a few days and two smaller pores spiral into it. The coronal loops become sigmoidal in shape and flares are seen in Yohkoh/SXT and GOES. We have modeled the sunspot, one of the pores and the loops connecting these to a diffuse region of plasma of the opposite polarity. Two sets of MHD simulations are considered: (i) rotation of the sunspot and pore alone and (ii) rotation of the sunspot with inflow of the pore. Rotation alone can trigger the ideal kink instability in the loops but only for a rotation that is much greater than the observed value. There is no build-up of current which is needed for magnetic reconnection to occur. However, when inflow is included a strong build-up of current is seen as the pore merges with the sunspot. Comparing these results from the simulations with the observations, we find that the observed merging of the pores coincides with the timing of the flare. Therefore, we suggest that the merging of the pores with the large sunspot may be responsible for the flaring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-54
Number of pages16
JournalSolar Physics
Volume213
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003

Keywords

  • KINK INSTABILITY
  • SOLAR CORONA
  • MAGNETIC LOOPS
  • FLUX TUBE
  • RECONNECTION
  • EVOLUTION

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