Coronal heating in multiple magnetic threads
School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St.
2 Space Science Institute, Macau University of Science and Technology, Avenida Wai Long, Taipa, Macau
3 Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
4 Space and Atmospheric Physics, The Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College, London SW7 2BW, UK
Received: 1 March 2015
Accepted: 24 June 2015
Context. Heating the solar corona to several million degrees requires the conversion of magnetic energy into thermal energy. In this paper, we investigate whether an unstable magnetic thread within a coronal loop can destabilise a neighbouring magnetic thread.
Aims. By running a series of simulations, we aim to understand under what conditions the destabilisation of a single magnetic thread can also trigger a release of energy in a nearby thread.
Methods. The 3D magnetohydrodynamics code, Lare3d, is used to simulate the temporal evolution of coronal magnetic fields during a kink instability and the subsequent relaxation process. We assume that a coronal magnetic loop consists of non-potential magnetic threads that are initially in an equilibrium state.
Results. The non-linear kink instability in one magnetic thread forms a helical current sheet and initiates magnetic reconnection. The current sheet fragments, and magnetic energy is released throughout that thread. We find that, under certain conditions, this event can destabilise a nearby thread, which is a necessary requirement for starting an avalanche of energy release in magnetic threads.
Conclusions. It is possible to initiate an energy release in a nearby, non-potential magnetic thread, because the energy released from one unstable magnetic thread can trigger energy release in nearby threads, provided that the nearby structures are close to marginal stability.
Key words: Sun: corona / Sun: magnetic fields
© ESO, 2015