Volume 555, July 2013
|Number of page(s)||4|
|Published online||10 July 2013|
First observational application of a connectivity-based helicity flux density
1 LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, UPMC, Université Paris-Diderot, 92195 Meudon, France
2 Mullard Space Science Laboratory, Univ. College London, UK
Received: 31 May 2013
Accepted: 23 June 2013
Context. Measuring the magnetic helicity distribution in the solar corona can help in understanding the trigger of solar eruptive events because magnetic helicity is believed to play a key role in solar activity due to its conservation property.
Aims. A new method for computing the photospheric distribution of the helicity flux was recently developed. This method takes into account the magnetic field connectivity whereas previous methods were based on photospheric signatures only. This novel method maps the true injection of magnetic helicity in active regions. We applied this method for the first time to an observed active region, NOAA 11158, which was the source of intense flaring activity.
Methods. We used high-resolution vector magnetograms from the SDO/HMI instrument to compute the photospheric flux transport velocities and to perform a nonlinear force-free magnetic field extrapolation. We determined and compared the magnetic helicity flux distribution using a purely photospheric as well as a connectivity-based method.
Results. While the new connectivity-based method confirms the mixed pattern of the helicity flux in NOAA 11158, it also reveals a different, and more correct, distribution of the helicity injection. This distribution can be important for explaining the likelihood of an eruption from the active region.
Conclusions. The connectivity-based approach is a robust method for computing the magnetic helicity flux, which can be used to study the link between magnetic helicity and eruptivity of observed active regions.
Key words: magnetic fields / methods: numerical / Sun: photosphere / Sun: corona
© ESO, 2013
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