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Twisted versus braided magnetic flux ropes in coronal geometry. II. Comparative behaviour.

Prior, C. and Yeates, A. (2016) 'Twisted versus braided magnetic flux ropes in coronal geometry. II. Comparative behaviour.', Astronomy & astrophysics., 591 . A16.


Aims. Sigmoidal structures in the solar corona are commonly associated with magnetic flux ropes whose magnetic field lines are twisted about a mutual axis. Their dynamical evolution is well studied, with sufficient twisting leading to large-scale rotation (writhing) and vertical expansion, possibly leading to ejection. Here, we investigate the behaviour of flux ropes whose field lines have more complex entangled/braided configurations. Our hypothesis is that this internal structure will inhibit the large-scale morphological changes. Additionally, we investigate the influence of the background field within which the rope is embedded. Methods. A technique for generating tubular magnetic fields with arbitrary axial geometry and internal structure, introduced in part I of this study, provides the initial conditions for resistive-MHD simulations. The tubular fields are embedded in a linear force-free background, and we consider various internal structures for the tubular field, including both twisted and braided. These embedded flux ropes are then evolved using a 3D MHD code. Results. Firstly, in a background where twisted flux ropes evolve through the expected non-linear writhing and vertical expansion, we find that flux ropes with sufficiently braided/entangled interiors show no such large-scale changes. Secondly, embedding a twisted flux rope in a background field with a sigmoidal inversion line leads to eventual reversal of the large-scale rotation. Thirdly, in some cases a braided flux rope splits due to reconnection into two twisted flux ropes of opposing chirality – a phenomenon previously observed in cylindrical configurations. Conclusions. Sufficiently complex entanglement of the magnetic field lines within a flux rope can suppress large-scale morphological changes of its axis, with magnetic energy reduced instead through reconnection and expansion. The structure of the background magnetic field can significantly affect the changing morphology of a flux rope.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:Reproduced with permission from Astronomy & Astrophysics, © ESO
Date accepted:02 March 2016
Date deposited:15 March 2016
Date of first online publication:03 June 2016
Date first made open access:No date available

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