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Title: A dynamic magnetic tension force as the cause of failed solar eruptions

Abstract

Coronal mass ejections are solar eruptions driven by a sudden release of magnetic energy stored in the Sun’s corona. In many cases, this magnetic energy is stored in long-lived, arched structures called magnetic flux ropes. When a flux rope destabilizes, it can either erupt and produce a coronal mass ejection or fail and collapse back towards the Sun. The prevailing belief is that the outcome of a given event is determined by a magnetohydrodynamic force imbalance called the torus instability. This belief is challenged, however, by observations indicating that torus-unstable flux ropes sometimes fail to erupt. This contradiction has not yet been resolved because of a lack of coronal magnetic field measurements and the limitations of idealized numerical modelling. Here we report the results of a laboratory experiment that reveal a previously unknown eruption criterion below which torus-unstable flux ropes fail to erupt. We find that such ‘failed torus’ events occur when the guide magnetic field (that is, the ambient field that runs toroidally along the flux rope) is strong enough to prevent the flux rope from kinking. Under these conditions, the guide field interacts with electric currents in the flux rope to produce a dynamic toroidal field tension forcemore » that halts the eruption. This magnetic tension force is missing from existing eruption models, which is why such models cannot explain or predict failed torus events.« less

Authors:
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  1. Princeton Univ., NJ (United States). Dept. of Astrophysical Sciences; Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States);
  2. Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
  3. Princeton Univ., NJ (United States). Dept. of Astrophysical Sciences; Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States);; Laboratory for Space Environment and Physical Sciences, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, Heilongjiang 150001, China
  4. Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA
Publication Date:
DOE Contract Number:  
AC02-09CH11466
Product Type:
Dataset
Research Org.:
Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES)
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; Laboratory plasma astrophysics Solar eruptions Coronal mass ejections Magnetohydrodynamic instabilities
Keywords:
Laboratory plasma astrophysics Solar eruptions Coronal mass ejections Magnetohydrodynamic instabilities
OSTI Identifier:
1366453
DOI:
10.11578/1366453

Citation Formats

Myers, Clayton E., Yamada, Maasaki, Ji, Hantao, Yoo, Jongsoo, Fox, William, Jara-Almonte, Jonathan, Savcheva, Antonia, and DeLuca, Edward E. A dynamic magnetic tension force as the cause of failed solar eruptions. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.11578/1366453.
Myers, Clayton E., Yamada, Maasaki, Ji, Hantao, Yoo, Jongsoo, Fox, William, Jara-Almonte, Jonathan, Savcheva, Antonia, & DeLuca, Edward E. A dynamic magnetic tension force as the cause of failed solar eruptions. United States. doi:10.11578/1366453.
Myers, Clayton E., Yamada, Maasaki, Ji, Hantao, Yoo, Jongsoo, Fox, William, Jara-Almonte, Jonathan, Savcheva, Antonia, and DeLuca, Edward E. 2015. "A dynamic magnetic tension force as the cause of failed solar eruptions". United States. doi:10.11578/1366453. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1366453. Pub date:Fri Dec 11 00:00:00 EST 2015
@article{osti_1366453,
title = {A dynamic magnetic tension force as the cause of failed solar eruptions},
author = {Myers, Clayton E. and Yamada, Maasaki and Ji, Hantao and Yoo, Jongsoo and Fox, William and Jara-Almonte, Jonathan and Savcheva, Antonia and DeLuca, Edward E.},
abstractNote = {Coronal mass ejections are solar eruptions driven by a sudden release of magnetic energy stored in the Sun’s corona. In many cases, this magnetic energy is stored in long-lived, arched structures called magnetic flux ropes. When a flux rope destabilizes, it can either erupt and produce a coronal mass ejection or fail and collapse back towards the Sun. The prevailing belief is that the outcome of a given event is determined by a magnetohydrodynamic force imbalance called the torus instability. This belief is challenged, however, by observations indicating that torus-unstable flux ropes sometimes fail to erupt. This contradiction has not yet been resolved because of a lack of coronal magnetic field measurements and the limitations of idealized numerical modelling. Here we report the results of a laboratory experiment that reveal a previously unknown eruption criterion below which torus-unstable flux ropes fail to erupt. We find that such ‘failed torus’ events occur when the guide magnetic field (that is, the ambient field that runs toroidally along the flux rope) is strong enough to prevent the flux rope from kinking. Under these conditions, the guide field interacts with electric currents in the flux rope to produce a dynamic toroidal field tension force that halts the eruption. This magnetic tension force is missing from existing eruption models, which is why such models cannot explain or predict failed torus events.},
doi = {10.11578/1366453},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2015},
month = {12}
}

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Works referencing / citing this record:

A dynamic magnetic tension force as the cause of failed solar eruptions
journal, December 2015

  • Myers, Clayton E.; Yamada, Masaaki; Ji, Hantao
  • Nature, Vol. 528, Issue 7583, p. 526-529
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature16188

A dynamic magnetic tension force as the cause of failed solar eruptions
journal, December 2015

  • Myers, Clayton E.; Yamada, Masaaki; Ji, Hantao
  • Nature, Vol. 528, Issue 7583, p. 526-529
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature16188