Successful and failed flux tube emergence in the solar interior

P. Syntelis, V. Archontis, A. Hood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


We report on our 3D magnetohydrodynamic simulations of cylindrical weakly twisted flux tubes emerging from 18 Mm below the photosphere. We perform a parametric study by varying the initial magnetic field strength (B 0), radius (R), twist (α), and length of the emerging part of the flux tube (λ) to investigate how these parameters affect the transfer of the magnetic field from the convection zone to the photosphere. We show that the efficiency of emergence at the photosphere (i.e., how strong the photospheric field will be in comparison to B 0) depends not only on B 0, but also on the morphology of the emerging field and on the twist. We show that parameters such as B 0 and magnetic flux alone cannot determine whether a flux tube will emerge to the solar surface. For instance, high-B 0 (weak-B 0) fields may fail (succeed) to emerge at the photosphere, depending on their geometrical properties. We also show that the photospheric magnetic field strength can vary greatly for flux tubes with the same B 0 but different geometric properties. Moreover, in some cases we have found scaling laws, whereby the magnetic field strength scales with the local density as B ∝ ρ κ , where κ ≈ 1 deeper in the convection zone and κ < 1 close to the photosphere. The transition between the two values occurs approximately when the local pressure scale (H p ) becomes comparable to the diameter of the flux tube (H p  ≈ 2R). We derive forms to explain how and when these scaling laws appear and compare them with the numerical simulations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Number of pages17
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2019


  • Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • Methods: Numerical
  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: interior
  • Sun: magnetic fields


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