Successive injection of opposite magnetic helicity in solar active region NOAA 11928
1 Indian Institute of Astrophysics, II Block, Koramangala, 560 034 Bangalore, India
2 Observatoire de Paris, LESIA, UMR 8109 (CNRS), 92195 Meudon, France
Received: 11 July 2016
Accepted: 1 November 2016
Aims. Understanding the nature and evolution of the photospheric helicity flux transfer is crucial to revealing the role of magnetic helicity in coronal dynamics of solar active regions.
Methods. We computed the boundary-driven helicity flux with a 12-min cadence during the emergence of the AR 11928 using SDO/HMI photospheric vector magnetograms and the derived flow velocity field. Accounting for the footpoint connectivity defined by nonlinear, force-free magnetic extrapolations, we derived and analyzed the corrected distribution of helicity flux maps.
Results. The photospheric helicity flux injection is found to change sign during the steady emergence of the AR. This reversal is confirmed with the evolution of the photospheric electric currents and with the coronal connectivity as observed in EUV wavelengths with SDO/AIA. During approximately the three first days of emergence, the AR coronal helicity is positive while later on the field configuration is close to a potential field. As theoretically expected, the magnetic helicity cancellation is associated with enhanced coronal activity.
Conclusions. The study suggests a boundary driven transformation of the chirality in the global AR magnetic structure. This may be the result of the emergence of a flux rope with positive twist around its apex while it has negative twist in its legs. The origin of such mixed helicity flux rope in the convective zone is challenging for models.
Key words: Sun: magnetic fields / Sun: flares / Sun: activity / Sun: photosphere / Sun: corona
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