Parametric study on kink instabilities of twisted magnetic flux ropes in the solar atmosphere
1 Centre for Mathematical Plasma Astrophysics, Department of Mathematics, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200B, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
2 Yunnan Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650011 Yunnan, PR China
3 Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, Directorate of Geosciences, National Science Foundation, Arlington, 22314 Virginia, USA
4 Center for Astronomical Mega-Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 20A Datun Road, Chaoyang District, 100012 Beijing, PR China
Received: 5 January 2017
Accepted: 30 August 2017
Aims. Twisted magnetic flux ropes (MFRs) in the solar atmosphere have been researched extensively because of their close connection to many solar eruptive phenomena, such as flares, filaments, and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). In this work, we performed a set of 3D isothermal magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) numerical simulations, which use analytical twisted MFR models and study dynamical processes parametrically inside and around current-carrying twisted loops. We aim to generalize earlier findings by applying finite plasma β conditions.
Methods. Inside the MFR, approximate internal equilibrium is obtained by pressure from gas and toroidal magnetic fields to maintain balance with the poloidal magnetic field. We selected parameter values to isolate best either internal or external kink instability before studying complex evolutions with mixed characteristics. We studied kink instabilities and magnetic reconnection in MFRs with low and high twists.
Results. The curvature of MFRs is responsible for a tire tube force due to its internal plasma pressure, which tends to expand the MFR. The curvature effect of toroidal field inside the MFR leads to a downward movement toward the photosphere. We obtain an approximate internal equilibrium using the opposing characteristics of these two forces. A typical external kink instability totally dominates the evolution of MFR with infinite twist turns. Because of line-tied conditions and the curvature, the central MFR region loses its external equilibrium and erupts outward. We emphasize the possible role of two different kink instabilities during the MFR evolution: internal and external kink. The external kink is due to the violation of the Kruskal-Shafranov condition, while the internal kink requires a safety factor q = 1 surface inside the MFR. We show that in mixed scenarios, where both instabilities compete, complex evolutions occur owing to reconnections around and within the MFR. The S-shaped structures in current distributions appear naturally without invoking flux emergence. Magnetic reconfigurations common to eruptive MFRs and flare loop systems are found in our simulations.
Key words: Sun: filaments, prominences / Sun: flares / magnetic reconnection / instabilities / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMEs)
© ESO, 2017