Topological differences and similarities between force-free and potential models of coronal magnetic fields

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Abstract

Potential fields and linear force-free fields are often used as models for the magnetic field of the Sun's corona. They can be written as analytical expressions in terms of boundary values at the photosphere. Because of their relative simplicity compared with nonlinear force-free fields, these two models are of particular importance in topological analysis of solar phenomena. However, it has been suggested by Hudson and Wheatland (1999) that the topologies of potential and force-free models are in general not even qualitatively equivalent. In this paper, their example is re-examined and it is found that the opposite conclusions hold. In general, potential and force-free fields are topologically similar sufficiently close to localized sources. The exception to this are structurally unstable states, such as bifurcation states, where a small change of current can produce a significant change of topology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)p.197-204
Number of pages8
JournalSolar Physics
Volume194
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000

Keywords

  • RAY BRIGHT POINTS
  • RECONNECTION
  • COMPLEX

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