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Non-neutralized Electric Current Patterns in Solar Active Regions: Origin of the Shear-Generating Lorentz Force View all abstracts by submitter

Manolis K. Georgoulis   Submitted: 2012-10-11 00:53

Using solar vector magnetograms of the highest available spatial resolution and signal-to-noise ratio we perform a detailed study of electric current patterns in two solar active regions: a flaring/eruptive, and a flare-quiet one. We aim to determine whether active regions inject non-neutralized (net) electric currents in the solar atmosphere, responding to a debate initiated nearly two decades ago that remains inconclusive. We find that well-formed, intense magnetic polarity inversion lines (PILs) within active regions are the only photospheric magnetic structures that support significant net current. More intense PILs seem to imply stronger non-neutralized current patterns per polarity. This finding revises previous works that claim frequent injections of intense non-neutralized currents by most active regions appearing in the solar disk but also works that altogether rule out injection of non-neutralized currents. In agreement with previous studies, we also find that magnetically isolated active regions remain globally current-balanced. In addition, we confirm and quantify the preference of a given magnetic polarity to follow a given sense of electric currents, indicating a dominant sense of twist in active regions. This coherence effect is more pronounced in more compact active regions with stronger PILs and must be of sub-photospheric origin. Our results yield a natural explanation of the Lorentz force, invariably generating velocity and magnetic shear along strong PILs, thus setting a physical context for the observed pre-eruption evolution in solar active regions.

Authors: M. K. Georgoulis, V. S. Titov, & Z. Mikic
Projects: Hinode/SOT

Publication Status: ApJ, in press
Last Modified: 2012-10-11 08:04
Go to main E-Print page  Evolution of the Solar Flare Energetic Electrons in the Inhomogeneous Inner Heliosphere  CIRCULAR RIBBON FLARES AND HOMOLOGOUS JETS  Edit Entry  Download Preprint  Submitter's Homepage Delete Entry 

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