Statistical flux tube properties of 3D magnetic carpet fields

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The quiet-Sun photosphere consists of numerous magnetic flux fragments of both polarities that evolve with granular and supergranular flow fields. These concentrations give rise to a web of intermingled magnetic flux tubes which characterise the coronal magnetic field. Here, the nature of these flux tubes is studied. The photosphere is taken to be the source plane and each photospheric fragment is represented by a series of point sources. By analysing the potential field produced by these sources, it is found that the distribution of flux tube lengths obtained by (i) integrating forward from positive sources and (ii) tracing back from negative sources is highly dependent on the total flux imbalance within the region of interest. It is established that the relation between the footpoint separation of a flux tube and its height cannot be assumed to be linear. Where there is a significant imbalance of flux within a region, it is found that fragments of the dominant polarity will have noticeably more connections, on average, than the minority polarity fragments. Despite this difference, the flux from a single fragment of either polarity is typically divided such that (i) 60-70% connects to one opposite-polarity fragment, (ii) 25-30% goes to a further 1 to 2 opposite-polarity fragments, and (iii) any remaining flux may connect to as many as another 50 or more other opposite-polarity fragments. This is true regardless of any flux imbalance within the region. It is found that fragments connect preferentially to their nearest neighbours, with, on average, around 60-70% of flux closing down within 10 Mm of a typical fragment. Only 50% of the flux in a quiet region extends higher than 2.5 Mm above the solar surface and 5-10% extends higher than 25 Mm. The fragments that contribute to the field above this height cover a range of sizes, with even the smallest of fragments contributing to the field at heights of over 50 Mm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-275
Number of pages25
JournalSolar Physics
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003


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