Testing non-linear force-free coronal magnetic field extrapolations with the Titov-Démoulin equilibrium

T. Wiegelmann, B. Inhester, B. Kliem, G. Valori, T. Neukirch

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Context.As the coronal magnetic field can usually not be measured directly, it has to be extrapolated from photospheric measurements into the corona. Aims.We test the quality of a non-linear force-free coronal magnetic field extrapolation code with the help of a known analytical solution.Methods. The non-linear force-free equations are numerically solved with the help of an optimization principle. The method minimizes an integral over the force-free and solenoidal condition. As boundary condition we use either the magnetic field components on all six sides of the computational box in Case I or only on the bottom boundary in Case II. We check the quality of the reconstruction by computing how well force-freeness and divergence-freeness are fulfilled and by comparing the numerical solution with the analytical solution. The comparison is done with magnetic field line plots and several quantitative measures, like the vector correlation, Cauchy Schwarz, normalized vector error, mean vector error and magnetic energy. Results.For Case I the reconstructed magnetic field shows good agreement with the original magnetic field topology, whereas in Case II there are considerable deviations from the exact solution. This is corroborated by the quantitative measures, which are significantly better for Case I.Conclusions. Despite the strong nonlinearity of the considered force-free equilibrium, the optimization method of extrapolation is able to reconstruct it; however, the quality of reconstruction depends significantly on the consistency of the input data, which is given only if the known solution is provided also at the lateral and top boundaries, and on the presence or absence of flux concentrations near the boundaries of the magnetogram.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-741
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006


  • Sun: magnetic fields
  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: photosphere


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