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Using Coronal Loops to Reconstruct the Magnetic Field of an Active Region Before and After a Major Flare  

Anna Malanushenko   Submitted: 2013-12-18 16:37

The shapes of solar coronal loops are sensitive to the presence of electrical currents that are the carriers of the nonpotential energy available for impulsive activity. We use this information in a new method for modeling the coronal magnetic field of AR 11158 as a nonlinear force-free field (NLFFF). The observations used are coronal images around time of major flare activity on 2011/02/15, together with the surface line-of-sight magnetic field measurements. The data are from the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (HMI and AIA, respectively) onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The model fields are constrained to approximate the coronal loop configurations as closely as possible, while also 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 imes1032 erg, consistent with what is needed to 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 approx0.9 full turns about its axis.

Authors: A. Malanushenko, C. Schrijver, M. L. DeRosa, M. S. Wheatland

Publication Status: ApJ (accepted)
Last Modified: 2013-12-19 07:43
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Using Coronal Loops to Reconstruct the Magnetic Field of an Active Region Before and After a Major Flare

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