Volume 527, March 2011
|Number of page(s)
|21 January 2011
Nonlinear force-free field extrapolation in spherical geometry: improved boundary data treatment applied to a SOLIS/VSM vector magnetogram
Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung,
e-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
2 Addis Ababa University, College of Education, Department of Physics Education, PO Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
3 National Solar Observatory, Sunspot, NM 88349, USA
Accepted: 23 November 2010
Context. Understanding the 3D structure of coronal magnetic field is important to understanding: the onset of flares and coronal mass ejections, and the stability of active regions, and to monitoring the magnetic helicity and free magnetic energy and other phenomena in the solar atmosphere. Routine measurements of the solar magnetic field are mainly carried out in the photosphere. Therefore, one has to infer the field strength in the upper layers of the solar atmosphere from the measured photospheric field based on the assumption that the corona is force-free. Meanwhile, those measured data are inconsistent with the above force-free assumption. Therefore, one has to apply some transformations to these data before nonlinear force-free extrapolation codes can be applied.
Aims. Extrapolation codes in Cartesian geometry for modelling the magnetic field in the corona do not take the curvature of the Sun’s surface into account and can only be applied to relatively small areas, e.g., a single active region. Here we apply a method for nonlinear force-free coronal magnetic field modelling and preprocessing of photospheric vector magnetograms in spherical geometry using the optimization procedure.
Methods. We solve the nonlinear force-free field equations by minimizing a functional in spherical coordinates over a restricted area of the Sun. We extend the functional by an additional term, which allows us to incorporate measurement errors and treat regions lacking observational data. We use vector magnetograph data from the Synoptic Optical Long-term Investigations of the Sun survey (SOLIS) to model the coronal magnetic field. We study two neighbouring magnetically connected active regions observed on May 15 2009.
Results. For vector magnetograms with variable measurement precision and randomly scattered data gaps (e.g., SOLIS/VSM), the new code yields field models that satisfy the solenoidal and force-free condition significantly better as it allows deviations between the extrapolated boundary field and observed boundary data within the measurement errors. Data gaps are assigned an infinite error. We extend this new scheme to spherical geometry and apply it for the first time to real data.
Key words: magnetic fields / Sun: corona / Sun: photosphere / methods: numerical
© ESO, 2011
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