Modelling the global solar corona: Filament chirality observations and surface simulations

A. R. Yeates, D. H. Mackay, A. A. van Ballegooijen

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89 Citations (Scopus)


The hemispheric pattern of solar filaments is considered in the context of the global magnetic field of the solar corona. In recent work Mackay and van Ballegooijen have shown how, for a pair of interacting magnetic bipoles, the observed chirality pattern could be explained by the dominant range of bipole tilt angles and helicity in each hemisphere. This study aims to test this earlier result through a direct comparison between theory and observations, using newly developed simulations of the actual surface and 3D coronal magnetic fields over a 6-month period, on a global scale. We consider two key components: (1) observations of filament chirality for the sample of 255 filaments and (2) our new simulations of the large-scale surface magnetic field. Based on a flux-transport model, these will be used as the lower boundary condition for the future 3D coronal simulations. Our technique differs significantly from those of other authors, where the coronal field is either assumed to be purely potential or has to be reset back to potential every 27 days for the photospheric field to remain accurate. In our case we ensure accuracy by the insertion of newly emerging bipolar active regions, based on observed photospheric synoptic magnetograms. The large-scale surface field is shown to remain accurate over the 6-month period, without any resetting. This new technique will enable future simulations to consider the long-term buildup and transport of helicity and shear in the coronal magnetic field over many months or years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-107
Number of pages21
JournalSolar Physics
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007


  • Sun : magnetic field
  • Sun : corona
  • Sun : prominences
  • SUN


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