Relative magnetic field line helicity 

Kostas Moraitis Submitted: 20190227 23:52
Context. Magnetic helicity is an important quantity in studies of magnetized plasmas as it provides a measure of the geometrical complexity of the magnetic field in a given volume. A more detailed description of the spatial distribution of magnetic helicity is given by the field line helicity that expresses the amount of helicity associated to individual field lines, rather than in the full analysed volume. Aims. Magnetic helicity is not a gaugeinvariant quantity in general, unless it is computed with respect to a reference field, yielding the so called relative magnetic helicity. The field line helicity corresponding to the relative magnetic helicity has only been examined under specific conditions so far. This work aims to define the field line helicity corresponding to relative magnetic helicity in the most general way. In addition to its general form, we provide the expression for the relative magnetic field line helicity in a few commonly used gauges, and reproduce known results as a limit of our general formulation. Methods. By starting from the definition of relative magnetic helicity, we derive the corresponding field line helicity, and we note the assumptions it is based on. Results. We check that the developed quantity reproduces relative magnetic helicity by using three different numerical simulations. For these cases we also show the morphology of field line helicity in the volume, and on the photospheric plane. As an application to solar situations, we compare the morphology of field line helicity on the photosphere with that of the connectivitybased helicity flux density in two reconstructions of an active region's magnetic field. We discuss how the derived relative magnetic field line helicity has a wide range of applications, notably in solar physics and magnetic reconnection studies.
Authors: K. Moraitis, E. Pariat, G. Valori, K. Dalmasse
Projects: None

Publication Status: accepted by A&A
Last Modified: 20190228 12:48


