MHD Simulations of the Eruption of Coronal Flux Ropes under Coronal Streamers

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Using three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations, we investigate the eruption of coronal flux ropes underlying coronal streamers and the development of a prominence eruption. We initialize a quasi-steady solution of a coronal helmet streamer, into which we impose at the lower boundary the slow emergence of a part of a twisted magnetic torus.

MHD simulation of the eruption of a prominence-carrying coronal magnetic flux rope image
MHD simulation of the eruption of a prominence- carrying coronal magnetic flux rope. The left panel shows the 3D magnetic field lines of the erupting magnetic flux rope due to the onset of the kink instability. The right panel shows the synthetic SDO/AIA 304 Å emission of the erupting prominence that is carried by the magnetic flux rope.

As a result, a quasi-equilibrium flux rope is built up under the streamer. With varying streamer sizes and different lengths and total twists of the flux rope that emerges, we found different scenarios for the evolution from quasi-equilibrium to eruption. In the cases with a broad streamer, the flux rope remains well confined until there is sufficient twist such that it first develops the kink instability and evolves through a sequence of kinked, confined states with increasing height until it eventually develops a "hernia-like" ejective eruption. For significantly twisted flux ropes, prominence condensations form in the dips of the twisted field lines due to runaway radiative cooling. Once formed, the prominence-carrying field becomes significantly non-force-free due to the weight of the prominence, despite having low plasma β. As the flux rope erupts, the prominence erupts, showing substantial draining along the legs of the erupting flux rope. The prominence may not show a kinked morphology even though the flux rope becomes kinked. On the other hand, in the case with a narrow streamer, the flux rope with less than one wind of twist can erupt via the onset of the torus instability.