Flux-rope twist in eruptive flares and CMEs : due to zipper and main-phase reconnection
MetadataShow full item record
The nature of three-dimensional reconnection when a twisted flux tube erupts during an eruptive flare or coronal mass ejection is considered. The reconnection has two phases: first of all, 3D “zipper reconnection” propagates along the initial coronal arcade, parallel to the polarity inversion line (PIL); then subsequent quasi-2D “main phase reconnection” in the low corona around a flux rope during its eruption produces coronal loops and chromospheric ribbons that propagate away from the PIL in a direction normal to it. One scenario starts with a sheared arcade: the zipper reconnection creates a twisted flux rope of roughly one turn (2π radians of twist), and then main phase reconnection builds up the bulk of the erupting flux rope with a relatively uniform twist of a few turns. A second scenario starts with a pre-existing flux rope under the arcade. Here the zipper phase can create a core with many turns that depend on the ratio of the magnetic fluxes in the newly formed flare ribbons and the new flux rope. Main phase reconnection then adds a layer of roughly uniform twist to the twisted central core. Both phases and scenarios are modeled in a simple way that assumes the initial magnetic flux is fragmented along the PIL. The model uses conservation of magnetic helicity and flux, together with equipartition of magnetic helicity, to deduce the twist of the erupting flux rope in terms the geometry of the initial configuration. Interplanetary observations show some flux ropes have a fairly uniform twist, which could be produced when the zipper phase and any pre-existing flux rope possess small or moderate twist (up to one or two turns). Other interplanetary flux ropes have highly twisted cores (up to five turns), which could be produced when there is a pre-existing flux rope and an active zipper phase that creates substantial extra twist.
Priest , E R & Longcope , D W 2017 , ' Flux-rope twist in eruptive flares and CMEs : due to zipper and main-phase reconnection ' Solar Physics , vol. 292 , 25 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-016-1049-0
Copyright the Authors 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
DescriptionFunding: UK Science and Technology Facilities Council
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.