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Title: Using coronal loops to reconstruct the magnetic field of an active region before and after a major flare

The shapes of solar coronal loops are sensitive to the presence of electrical currents that are the carriers of the non-potential energy available for impulsive activity. We use this information in a new method for modeling the coronal magnetic field of active region (AR) 11158 as a nonlinear force-free field (NLFFF). The observations used are coronal images around the time of major flare activity on 2011 February 15, together with the surface line-of-sight magnetic field measurements. The data are from the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The model fields are constrained to approximate the coronal loop configurations as closely as possible, while also being subject to the force-free constraints. The method does not use transverse photospheric magnetic field components as input and is thereby distinct from methods for modeling NLFFFs based on photospheric vector magnetograms. We validate the method using observations of AR 11158 at a time well before major flaring and subsequently review the field evolution just prior to and following an X2.2 flare and associated eruption. The models indicate that the energy released during the instability is about 1 × 10{sup 32} erg, consistent with what is needed tomore » power such a large eruptive flare. Immediately prior to the eruption, the model field contains a compact sigmoid bundle of twisted flux that is not present in the post-eruption models, which is consistent with the observations. The core of that model structure is twisted by ≈0.9 full turns about its axis.« less
Authors:
 [1] ; ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Department of Physics, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT (United States)
  2. Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, Palo Alto, CA (United States)
  3. Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, University of Sydney, Redfern, NSW (Australia)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22351583
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 783; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; APPROXIMATIONS; CONFIGURATION; ERUPTION; EVOLUTION; IMAGES; INSTABILITY; LIMITING VALUES; MAGNETIC FIELDS; NONLINEAR PROBLEMS; SIMULATION; SOLAR CORONA; SUN; SURFACES; ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION