Measurement of the coronal magnetic field is a crucial ingredient in understanding the nature of solar coronal phenomena at all scales. We employed STEREO/COR1 data obtained during a deep minimum of solar activity in February 2008 (Carrington rotation CR 2066) to retrieve and analyze the three-dimensional (3D) coronal electron density in the range of heights from 1.5 to 4 Rsun using a tomography method. With this, we qualitatively deduced structures of the coronal magnetic field. The 3D electron density analysis is complemented by the 3D STEREO/EUVI emissivity in the 195 A band obtained by tomography for the same CR. A global 3D MHD model of the solar corona was used to relate the reconstructed 3D density and emissivity to open/closed magnetic field structures. We show that the density maximum locations can serve as an indicator of current sheet position, while the locations of the density gradient maximum can be a reliable indicator of coronal hole boundaries. We find that the magnetic field configuration during CR 2066 has a tendency to become radially open at heliocentric distances greater than 2.5 Rsun. We also find that the potential field model with a fixed source surface (PFSS) is inconsistent with the boundaries between the regions with open and closed magnetic field structures. This indicates that the assumption of the potential nature of the coronal global magnetic field is not satisfied even during the deep solar minimum. Results of our 3D density reconstruction will help to constrain solar coronal field models and test the accuracy of the magnetic field approximations for coronal modeling.
Authors: M. Kramar, V. Airapetian, Z. Mikić, J. Davila
Publication Status: Published in "Solar Physics"; doi: 10.1007/s11207-014-0525-7
Last Modified: 2014-05-06 15:18