Volume 430, Number 3, February II 2005
|Page(s)||1067 - 1087|
|Published online||26 January 2005|
Equilibrium and observational properties of line-tied twisted flux tubes
Observatoire de Paris, LESIA, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France e-mail: [guillaume.aulanier;pascal.demoulin]@obspm.fr
2 Observatoire de Paris, LUTH, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 19 September 2004
We describe a new explicit three-dimensional magnetohydrodymanic code, which solves the standard zero-β MHD equations in Cartesian geometry, with line-tied conditions at the lower boundary and open conditions at the other ones. Using this code in the frame of solar active regions, we simulate the evolution of an initially potential and concentrated bipolar magnetic field, subject to various sub-Alfvénic photospheric twisting motions which preserve the initial photospheric vertical magnetic field. Both continuously driven and relaxation runs are performed. Within the numerical domain, a steep equilibrium curve is found for the altitude of the apex of the field line rooted in the vortex centers as a function of the twist. Its steepness strongly depends on the degree of twist in outer field lines rooted in weak field regions. This curve fits the analytical expression for the asymptotic behaviour of force-free fields of spherical axisymmetric dipoles subject to azimuthal shearing motions, as well as the curve derived for other line-tied twisted flux tubes reported in previous works. This suggests that it is a generic property of line-tied sheared/twisted arcades. However, contrary to other studies we never find a transition toward a non-equilibrium within the numerical domain, even for twists corresponding to steep regions of the equilibrium curve. The calculated configurations are analyzed in the frame of solar observations. We discuss which specific conditions are required for the steepness of the generic equilibrium curve to result in dynamics which are typical of both fast and slow CMEs observed below 3 . We provide natural interpretations for the existence of asymmetric and multiple concentrations of electric currents in homogeneoulsy twisted sunspots, due to the twisting of both short and long field lines. X-ray sigmoïds are reproduced by integrating the Joule heating term along the line-of-sight. These sigmoïds have inverse-S shapes associated with negative force-free parameters α, which is consistent with observed rules in the northern solar hemisphere. We show that our sigmoïds are not formed in the main twisted flux tube, but rather in an ensemble of low-lying sheared and weakly twisted field lines, which individually never trace the whole sigmoïd, and which barely show their distorded shapes when viewed in projection. We find that, for a given bipolar configuration and a given twist, neither the α nor the altitude of the lines whose envelope is a sigmoïd depends on the vortex size.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / methods: numerical / Sun: magnetic fields / Sun: photosphere / Sun: corona
© ESO, 2005
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