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The correlation of fractal structures in the photospheric and the coronal magnetic field  

Michaila Dimitropoulou   Submitted: 2009-08-26 06:10

Context: This work examines the relation between the fractal properties of the photospheric magnetic patterns and those of the coronal magnetic fields in solar active regions. Aims: We investigate whether there is any correlation between the fractal dimensions of the photospheric structures and the magnetic discontinuities formed in the corona. Methods: To investigate the connection between the photospheric and coronal complexity, we used a nonlinear force-free extrapolation method that reconstructs the 3d magnetic fields using 2d observed vector magnetograms as boundary conditions.We then located the magnetic discontinuities, which are considered as spatial proxies of reconnection-related instabilities. These discontinuities form well-defined volumes, called here unstable volumes. We calculated the fractal dimensions of these unstable volumes and compared them to the fractal dimensions of the boundary vector magnetograms. Results: Our results show no correlation between the fractal dimensions of the observed 2d photospheric structures and the extrapolated unstable volumes in the corona, when nonlinear force-free extrapolation is used. This result is independent of efforts to (1) bring the photospheric magnetic fields closer to a nonlinear force-free equilibrium and (2) omit the lower part of the modeled magnetic field volume that is almost completely filled by unstable volumes. A significant correlation between the fractal dimensions of the photospheric and coronal magnetic features is only observed at the zero level (lower limit) of approximation of a current-free (potential) magnetic field extrapolation. Conclusions: We conclude that the complicated transition from photospheric non-force-free fields to coronal force-free ones hampers any direct correlation between the fractal dimensions of the 2d photospheric patterns and their 3d counterparts in the corona at the nonlinear force-free limit, which can be considered as a second level of approximation in this study. Correspondingly, in the zero and first levels of approximation, namely, the potential and linear force-free extrapolation, respectively, we reveal a significant correlation between the fractal dimensions of the photospheric and coronal structures, which can be attributed to the lack of electric currents or to their purely field-aligned orientation.

Authors: M. Dimitropoulou, M. Georgoulis, H. Isliker, L. Vlahos, A. Anastasiadis, D. Strintzi and X. Moussas
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Publication Status: A&A (in press)
Last Modified: 2009-08-28 07:07
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The correlation of fractal structures in the photospheric and the coronal magnetic field

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