Wednesday, March 20, 2013

1303.4130 (Andrew Hillier et al.)

On the Support of Solar Prominence Material by the Dips of a Coronal Flux Tube    [PDF]

Andrew Hillier, Adriaan van Ballegooijen
The dense prominence material is believed to be supported against gravity through the magnetic tension of dipped coronal magnetic field. For quiescent prominences, which exhibit many gravity-driven flows, hydrodynamic forces are likely to play an important role in the determination of both the large and small scale magnetic field distributions. In this study, we present the first steps toward creating three-dimensional magneto-hydrostatic prominence model where the prominence is formed in the dips of a coronal flux tube. Here 2.5D equilibria are created by adding mass to an initially force-free magnetic field, then performing a secondary magnetohydrodynamic relaxation. Two inverse polarity magnetic field configurations are studied in detail, a simple o-point configuration with a ratio of the horizontal field (B_x) to the axial field (B_y) of 1:2 and a more complex model that also has an x-point with a ratio of 1:11. The models show that support against gravity is either by total pressure or tension, with only tension support resembling observed quiescent prominences. The o-point of the coronal flux tube was pulled down by the prominence material, leading to compression of the magnetic field at the base of the prominence. Therefore tension support comes from the small curvature of the compressed magnetic field at the bottom and the larger curvature of the stretched magnetic field at the top of the prominence. It was found that this method does not guarantee convergence to a prominence-like equilibrium in the case where an x-point exists below the prominence flux tube. The results imply that a plasma beta of ~ 0.1 is necessary to support prominences through magnetic tension.
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