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Title: Development and application of a global magnetic field evolution model for the solar corona
Author: Yeates, Anthony Robinson
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 799X
Awarding Body: University of St Andrews
Current Institution: University of St Andrews
Date of Award: 2009
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Magnetic fields are fundamental to the structure and dynamics of the Sun’s corona. Observations show them to be locally complex, with highly sheared and twisted fields visible in solar filaments/prominences. The free magnetic energy contained in such fields is the primary source of energy for coronal mass ejections, which are important—but still poorly understood drivers of space weather in the near-Earth environment. In this thesis, a new model is developed for the evolution of the large-scale magnetic field in the global solar corona. The model is based on observations of the radial magnetic field on the solar photosphere (visible surface). New active regions emerge, and their transport and dispersal by surface motions are simulated accurately with a surface flux transport model. The 3D coronal magnetic field is evolved in response to these photospheric motions using a magneto-frictional technique. The resulting sequence of nonlinear force-free equilibria traces the build-up of magnetic helicity and free energy over many months. The global model is applied to study two phenomena: filaments and coronal mass ejections. The magnetic field directions in a large sample of observed filaments are compared with a 6-month simulation. Depending on the twist of newly-emerging active regions, the correct chirality is simulated for up to 96% of filaments tested. On the basis of these simulations, an explanation for the observed hemispheric pattern of filament chirality is put forward, including why exceptions occur for filaments in certain locations. Twisted magnetic flux ropes develop in the simulations, often losing equilibrium and lifting off, removing helicity. The physical basis for such losses of equilibrium is demonstrated through 2D analytical models. In the 3D global simulations, the twist of emerging regions is a key parameter controlling the number of lift-offs, which may explain around a third of observed coronal mass ejections.
Supervisor: Mackay, Duncan H.; Priest, Eric R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sun ; Magnetohydrodynamics ; Solar filaments ; Solar prominences ; Coronal mass ejections ; Magnetic field ; QB529.Y4 ; Sun--Corona--Magnetic fields--Mathematical models