D. H. Mackay
Articles written in Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy
Volume 36 Issue 1 March 2015 pp 123-155
Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are the most violent phenomena observed on the Sun. One of the most successful models to explain CMEs is the flux rope ejection model, where a magnetic flux rope is expelled from the solar corona after a long phase along which the flux rope stays in equilibrium while magnetic energy is being accumulated. However, still many questions are outstanding on the detailed mechanism of the ejection and observations continuously provide new data to interpret and put in the context. Currently, extreme ultraviolet (EUV) images from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on board the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) are providing new insights into the early phase of CME evolution. In particular, observations show the ejection of magnetic flux ropes from the solar corona and how they evolve into CMEs. However, these observations are difficult to interpret in terms of basic physical mechanisms and quantities, thus, we need to compare equivalent quantities to test and improve our models.
In our work, we intend to bridge the gap between models and observations with our model of flux rope ejection where we consistently describe the full life span of a flux rope from its formation to ejection. This is done by coupling the global non-linear force-free model (GNLFFF) built to describe the slow low-𝛽 formation phase, with a full MHD simulation run with the software MPI-AMRVAC, suitable to describe the fast MHD evolution of the flux rope ejection that happens in a heterogeneous 𝛽 regime. We also explore the parameter space to identify the conditions upon which the ejection is favoured (gravity stratification and magnetic field intensity) and we produce synthesised AIA observations (171 Å and 211 Å). To carry this out, we run 3D MHD simulation in spherical coordinates where we include the role of thermal conduction and radiative losses, both of which are important for determining the temperature distribution of the solar corona during a CME.
Our model of flux rope ejection is successful in realistically describing the entire life span of a flux rope and we also set some conditions for the backgroud solar corona to favour the escape of the flux rope, so that it turns into a CME. Furthermore, our MHD simulation reproduces many of the features found in the AIA observations.
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