Validation of the magnetic energy vs. helicity scaling in solar magnetic structures
1 Research Center for Astronomy and Applied Mathematics (RCAAM), Academy of Athens, 4 Soranou Efesiou Street, 11527 Athens, Greece
2 School of Mathematics and Statistics, St. Andrews University, St. Andrews, KY169SS, UK
Received: 27 August 2014
Accepted: 24 September 2014
Aims. We assess the validity of the free magnetic energy – relative magnetic helicity diagram for solar magnetic structures.
Methods. We used two different methods of calculating the free magnetic energy and the relative magnetic helicity budgets: a classical, volume-calculation nonlinear force-free (NLFF) method applied to finite coronal magnetic structures and a surface-calculation NLFF derivation that relies on a single photospheric or chromospheric vector magnetogram. Both methods were applied to two different data sets, namely synthetic active-region cases obtained by three-dimensional magneto-hydrodynamic (MHD) simulations and observed active-region cases, which include both eruptive and noneruptive magnetic structures.
Results. The derived energy-helicity diagram shows a consistent monotonic scaling between relative helicity and free energy with a scaling index 0.84 ± 0.05 for both data sets and calculation methods. It also confirms the segregation between noneruptive and eruptive active regions and the existence of thresholds in both free energy and relative helicity for active regions to enter eruptive territory.
Conclusions. We consider the previously reported energy-helicity diagram of solar magnetic structures as adequately validated and envision a significant role of the uncovered scaling in future studies of solar magnetism.
Key words: Sun: chromosphere / Sun: magnetic fields / Sun: photosphere
© ESO, 2014