3D simulations identifying the effects of varying the twist and field strength of an emerging flux tube
School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St. Andrews, North Haugh, St. Andrews, Fife, KY16 9SS, UK e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Institúto de Astrofísica de Canarias, 38200 La Laguna (Tenerife), Spain
3 Dept. of Astrophysics, Faculty of Physics, University of La Laguna, 38200 La Laguna (Tenerife), Spain
4 Niels Bohr Institute, Julie Maries vej 30, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
Accepted: 15 September 2006
Aims.We investigate the effects of varying the magnetic field strength and the twist of a flux tube as it rises through the solar interior and emerges into the atmosphere.
Methods.Using a 3D numerical MHD code, we consider a simple stratified model, comprising of one solar interior layer and three overlying atmospheric layers. We set a horizontal, twisted flux tube in the lowest layer. The specific balance of forces chosen results in the tube being fully buoyant and the temperature is decreased in the ends of the tube to encourage the formation of an Ω-shape along the tube's length. We vary the magnetic field strength and twist independently of each other so as to give clear results of the individual effects of each parameter.
Results.We find a self-similar evolution in the rise and emergence of the flux tube when the magnetic field strength of the tube is modified. During the rise through the solar interior, the height of the crest and axis, the velocity of the crest and axis, and the decrease in the magnetic field strength of the axis of the tube are directly dependent upon the initial magnetic field strength given to the tube. No such self-similarity is evident when the twist of the flux tube is changed, due to the complex interaction of the tension force on the rise of the tube. For low magnetic field strength and twist values, we find that the tube cannot fully emerge into the atmosphere once it reaches the top of the interior since the buoyancy instability criterion cannot be fulfilled. For those tubes that do advance into the atmosphere, when the magnetic field strength has been modified, we find further self-similar behaviour in the amount of tube flux transported into the atmosphere. For the tubes that do emerge, the variation in the twist results in the buoyancy instability, and subsequent emergence, occurring at different locations along the tube's length.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / Sun: magnetic fields / Sun: interior / Sun: corona / methods: numerical / Sun: atmosphere
© ESO, 2006