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Ph.D. Thesis University of St Andrews Submitted July 8th, 2003.




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This thesis examines the magnetic topology of the solar corona. Many of the dynamic processes in the Sun’s atmosphere are driven by the magnetic field, and so understanding the structure of such such fields is a key step towards modelling these phenomena. The technique of Magnetic Charge Topology (MCT) is used to determine the topologies due to various source configurations. The balanced four-source case is completely classified, and seven distinct topological states are found. This is compared to the complete three-source classification performed by Brown and Priest (1999a). A method is described for extending the analysis to greater numbers of sources. MCT is also used to discuss the creation of magnetic null points in the solar corona. Until recently, it was tacitly assumed that any coronal nulls would have to be created by means of a local double-separator bifurcation in the photospheric source plane. A counterexample - the new, coronal local separator bifurcation - with five unbalanced sources is found and analysed, and several seven-source scenarios are also discussed. We also find that this new bifurcation plays a critical role in the Magnetic Breakout Model for solar flares and coronal mass ejections (Antiochos et al., 1999). We provide a simple MCT model for a flaring delta-spot region and find that a ‘breakout’ can be provoked in several different ways. Finally, a Monte Carlo variation on MCT is used to determine the proportion of upright nulls in a field due to a large number of sources. By overlaying two plane topologies, we find also the number of separators and use the result to calculate typical sizes for elemental flux loops in the corona. i




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This thesis is dedicated to my mother, Linda Hendren and my father, Ken Beveridge, as thanks for their constant interest, encouragement and support. On an academic level, I’d like to thank everyone who helped me get this written, particularly my supervisor, Eric Priest, and my collaborators Dana Longcope, Daniel Brown and Duncan Mackay. Without their tireless efforts this would have been far more tiresome. On a personal level, thanks are due to the friends who supported me through the dark times and kept me working in the sunshine; there are too many to mention by name, but I’m particularly grateful to my sidekick Will McKiver for useless discussions. I am indebted also to the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council for financial support, and to Montana State University for funds towards my research visit there. I’d like also to thank Katherine Vine for her hospitality during my visit to Wester Ross over New Year 2003. Lastly, this thesis would probably never have been completed without my girlfriend Emma Felber.





. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. . . . . . . .4. . . . . . . . .1 1. . . . . . . . Equations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. . . . . . . .4. .2 1.3 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Local bifurcations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Magnetic charge topology . . . . . . . . . . . . Topological features: the magnetic skeleton . . . . . . .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 1 Contents Abstract Acknowledgements 1 Introduction 1. . . . . .1 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Abstract . . .5 Outline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1                 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 1. i ii 5 5 6 8 8 10 16 16 19 22 24 24 Bifurcations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Topologies due to four balanced sources 2. 1. . .3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Introduction to MCT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Global bifurcations . . . . . . .3. .

. . . . . . . .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 2 2 2. . . . . . . . . .5 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Seven sources: more coronal bifurcations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3.5. . . . Bifurcation diagrams .2 3. . . . . . . . . . 3. . . . . . . . .6. . . .3 Introduction . . . .4 The double coronal null case . . . . . . 25 29 30 32 34 34 37 40 40 44 45 46 48 48 53 53 56 59 59 62 67 67 Discussion . . . . . .                 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bifurcation behaviour . .1 3. . . . . . . .1 3. . . . . . . . .2 Six coronal nulls . . . . . .1 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Five unbalanced sources: a coronal bifurcation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 3. . . Four unbalanced sources: the Brown and Priest case . .3. . . The four-separator case . . . . . . . . . .2 2. .6 Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Topologies .7 Three positive sources and one negative . .3 2. . . . . . . . .2 2. . . . . . Two positive sources and two negative: three flux domains . . .5. . . . . . . . . . . . . model and method . . . . . . .2 3. . . . . . . . .4 2. 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Two coronal null case . . .4. . . . . .6 Introduction . . . . . . 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bifurcation behaviour . . .1 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3. . . . . . . . . . . . . Two positive sources and two negative: four flux domains . . .6. . . . . . 2. . . 3 Genesis of coronal null points 3. . . . . Assumptions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Four coronal nulls . . .6. . . . . 3. . Domain graph method . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Discussion . . . . . . . . . .1 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Separators and flux loops . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Bifurcation analysis . . . 5 Elemental Flux Loops 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 4. . .2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Source location experiment . . . . . 101 103                 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 4. . . . . . . .2 Abstract . . . . . . .4 4. . . . . . . . .5 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Topology of the source plane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 3 3 4 The Magnetic Breakout Model 4. . . . 72 72 73 73 73 75 75 79 80 80 81 84 85 86 88 89 97 99 99 Results . . . . . . . . . . . . Our model . . . . . . .4 5. . . . 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Discussion and future work 6.2. . . . . . . . . . . . Future work . .1 4. .3. . . . Model . . . . .2 Glossary Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3. . . . . . . . . . 4. Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 5.1 6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Source strength experiment . . . . . . .3. . . . . . .3 Delta sunspots and magnetic breakout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Force-free field experiment . . . . . . . . .

110 B. . . . . .4 Drawing topologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110 B. . . . . . . . . . .5 Drawing bifurcation diagrams . . 109 B. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 4 4 Appendix A: Useful proofs 106 Separator exists if and only if a spine bounds a fan . . . . . . . . .3 Separators . . . . . . . 106 Appendix B 109 B. . 106 No coronal nulls with three sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Skeletons and field lines . . . . . . . 111 Appendix C Bibliography 112 114                 . . . . . . . . . .1 Null points . . . . . . . . 109 B. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

there was no sun and the humans and animals had to hunt and gather by the light of the dim moon. it extends far beyond even the furthest planets and into interstellar space. Indigenous Australian creation myth. when the world was new. One day the brolga and the emu had a huge argument over whose babies were best. The yellow yolk burst into flames and lit up the earth. All of these phenomena are magnetic in nature .1 Introduction The solar corona is a complicated and constantly-changing layer of the Sun’s atmosphere. massive explosions such as solar flares and the eruptions of prominences that lead to huge Coronal Mass Ejections. Lying above the Sun’s lower atmospheric regions. retold by Sarah Steele 1. As she threw it into the air it smashed on a few sticks. the photosphere and chromosphere. they are mainly driven 5                 . Many of the Sun’s most spectacular sights are seen in the lower part of the corona: for instance. The brolga got so furious that she stole one of the emu’s eggs which she threw into the sky.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 5 Chapter 1 Introduction In the beginning.that is to say. the gigantic loop structures shown by the TRACE and Yohkoh satellites.

the plasma velocity. the electric current density. isolated flux sources in the photosphere. there are many thousands of sources constantly moving around.2) where is magnetic permeability (assumed to be constant). We will be using in particular The equation of motion: (1. Our approach is to try to understand the structure of relatively simple fields. 1. Fletcher et al. emerging and disappearing.. 2001). This field. 1998. This field arises from a large number of intense. We do this by examining the topological features described later in this chapter.1) where is the plasma density. even from a handful of stationary sources. these events are often linked to complex configurations where several topologically distinct regions interact (Lau. Aulanier et al. such as flares are driven by the magnetic field. In most parts of the lower corona. locations where flux tubes originating in the solar interior break through the surface. is immensely complicated. Amp` re’s law: e (1..“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 6 6 by the coronal magnetic field. the plasma pressure. gravity. the magnetic energy density far exceeds any other form of energy. In particular. We are a long way from even a basic understanding of such a complex field.2 Equations The magnetic field is governed by the equations of magnetohydrodyamics (MHD).           ! & $  !    '%¢ #"  ¥ $ &  20 1 ¢  ¨ § ©¦£ ¥ £ ¦¤¢ ¨ !  )( 1 30 ¡ ¡         . In reality. From this it follows that many of the dynamic coronal events. 1993. the details of which can be found in any reputable MHD textbook such as Priest (1982). combining and fragmenting and growing or shrinking in strength and size. in the hope that these can be used to build up pictures of more complicated structures. and the magnetic field.

effectively. That is to say. taken to be uniform. For to be connectivity. When the magnetic Reynolds number . In two dimensions.4: (1.g. as is true nearly everywhere on the Sun.6)     d c eQ P r` & 1` 1 Y ¥ T V VW V T Q 5USP F XV !H ID F D" B( C ! A  1` ba1 Y d gRP f Q ¥ & ID9GED" B( !H  F  C ! A  v w1 ` r q 2p i h X7 d T X` s q 2p i h u7 d T 1 ` t 8 97 ¨ F ¨ § !4 65 y @ ! @ ¨ !  "x ¡ ¡         . the equation of motion (Equation 1. and the plasma is ‘frozen in’ to the magnetic field.. however.4) where is the magnetic diffusivity. so that . which occurs when sufficiently small for reconnection to occur. Reconnection occurs when plasma is allowed to move across field lines with different . Photospheric elements. Since coronal velocities are generally less than or of the order of the Alfv´ n velocity e . Alfv´ n’s theorem applies. 1982). either the velocity or the length scale must be very small indeed.3) The induction equation: (1. in three dimensions.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 7 7 The solenoidal condition: (1. it would seem that minuscule length scales are required. If we neglect also gravity and plasma pressure (reasoning that they are generally far smaller than the Lorentz force).5) (1. coronal structures (which are thought to have velocities of the same order as the photospheric movements causing them) move in most cases far slower than the Alfv´ n speed.1) reduces to     Q P q pi 266H h 6d T F Q RP We can then define the magnetic Reynolds number the terms in Equation 1. in force balance. Priest. . and can be considered to be e in quasi-static equilibrium . and can e effectively move only along field lines (e. Most agree on velocities of the order of . do not move so quickly. null points are the only locations for reconnection. by comparing the dimensions of where and are typical length and velocity scales. reconnection is not confined to null points although it can occur there. In the corona.

Where it is valid.g. The field due to the charges is assumed to be potential. The charges are assumed to lie in a plane.3. Longcope. This involves making three main simplifying assumptions: Elements of photospheric flux are taken to be point sources (magnetic charges). but to discuss them here would be something of a digression. or .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 8 8 This assumption (the force-free assumption) breaks down in highly dynamic events such as the explosive phase of a flare. this becomes: (1. These assumptions warrant further examination. The first assumption appears to contravene the solenoidal condition         1 € € ¨ C …‚A € 7 ‡ ˆ† & ƒ…„A € !C 7 !C ƒb‚A € ¨ C …‚A € € ¨ ¨ !  "(  ¡ ¡ ¡         . 1. Using Equation 1. Analytical solutions to this do exist for a given set of boundary conditions. although it is valid for the slow build-up of energy beforehand.3) a potential field. we use the technique of Magnetic Charge Topology or MCT (e.2. Another possibility is . force-free fields are discussed only in passing in Chapter 4. however. 1996).1 Introduction to MCT The purpose of this thesis is to study the possible topologies of (largely) simple magnetic fields.7) generally a non-linear partial differential equation. To do so. not least because two of them seem unphysical at first sight. The form of can. The simplest example is . be chosen so as to linearise this equation. the corona is considered to be the halfspace where . it implies that the current flow is everywhere parallel to the magnetic field.3 Magnetic charge topology 1. which gives (in conjunction with Equation 1. where is a scalar function of position. which gives a linear force-free field.

a sixth. although the physical conclusions apply only in the corona with . but instead representations of flux tubes passing through the solar surface and spreading out into the corona. This is a topic we will return to briefly in Chapter 3. It could also be argued that the second condition is unphysical because the Sun isn’t flat. It The final assumption. In order to obtain some as if topological results. it is convenient to use the mirror corona in the half-space it were real. (e. This is not always made explicit. the magnetic field due to it will be effectively indistinguishable from that of a point source. the third seems unphysical because in a potential field and hence (in view of Amp` re’s law e ) no current can flow.g. 2000). with a little work.. The second assumption is also permissible. such that is believed. A more valid approach would be to consider a force-free field satisfying Equation 1. in the ‘five-source’ example of Chapter 3. For instance. this is computationally much more complicated and in any case.7. using a weakly force-free field rather than a potential field is not expected to give any new topological behaviour.4) occur will naturally change (Brown and Priest. In the first instance.although at low altitudes. although the parameter values at which bifurcations (changes between topological states . as long as the area of the solar surface considered is small enough that the Sun’s curvature can be neglected. we can then write the magnetic field explicitly at any point in space. however. depending on the exact form of One of the computational problems with using a force-free field with boundary conditions at is that it is possible for more than one field to satisfy the equations.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 9 9 at such a source. all three of the assumptions can be justified. the magnetic charges aren’t true monopoles. 1996) that the magnetic field in the solar corona is quite close to potential . balancing source is assumed to exist a great distance away. is more contentious. Having made the above assumptions. Our other concession to is an insistence on flux balance. this is not true. If there are sources at positions with strengths          7 7 ‡ ˆ† ‘ )† C ˜˜˜ • 6I™d 7 ¨ ¨ 1  E0 — – „A & u !  “’ ¨ !  )( C …‚A € 7 • ¨ !4 b” 7 ¨ 7 ¨ !"(  ! 4 9‰ 7 ¨ †         . At a distance much greater than the radius of the flux tube. however.see Section 1. and in certain structures such as prominences. However. that of a potential field. Longcope.

respectively. while and are parameters of the potential field. Table 1. they are directed towards it. We label their corresponding eigenvectors as . as described in the following Section. For nearly all cases in this thesis.9 vanishes.1.3. These field lines end (or begin) in sources called spine sources. defines two isolated field lines known as spines (Priest and Titov. we can consider the relative positions and orientations of the field’s topological features: null points. If . Their local structure has been examined in detail. we will be considering the potential situation. separatrix surfaces and separator field lines. 1996). These eigenvectors are crucial to the skeleton. and . If a null has two distinct spine sources. where and magnetic null can normally be written as (1. and if .1 shows how these are depicted in diagrams throughout this thesis. A co-ordinate system can be chosen such that the first-order linear field near a . (1996). spine field lines. it is called         ‰… & ƒ ‚ 6 ‡ 9… C d † r & o n sC qp& ‚A t  ‹A 7 7  H  C ¨ ‡… u†  q Ž  ‰ Š… 7 „ ‚A q ‡ q  H 7  a4 ~ Ix ‡u… 7 ¨ € y H w ƒ 3Ix ~ Ix C ˆ‚A q „  Iy x 2|x ~ ‚ z y 6 3|x  ¨ l m¨ d !4 …Œ t Ž ! uv H Ž q Ž „ 7 ‘ q    q j ¨ t V b   V e d ke – C A …„)! –  hi ¨ ˜˜˜ • 66gd — e ‚A & fd } Ix €3Ix y } Ix 2Ix } Iy x z y 3|x q  { Ix ¨ €3|x w tl y { Ix  Iy x 2Ix { z y 3Ix uv ‰… C ‡ %… l         . for instance by Parnell et al. and hence so does the sum of its eigenvalues.9) where and represent components of the current parallel and perpendicular to the spine. The solenoidal condition implies that the trace of the matrix in Equation 1. then the field strength at a point is: (1.2 Topological features: the magnetic skeleton Null points are locations at which the magnetic field vanishes. 1.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 10 10 . and is depicted in Figure 1. respectively. The eigenvector associated with the odd-signed eigenvalue.8) Armed with this information. these are directed away from the null point. . where and are equal to zero.3. Ignoring the degenerate cases when one or more of the eigenvalues is equal to zero. it is clear that one of the eigenvalues ( ) is of the opposite sign to the other two ( and ).

If and are positive. the fan field lines diverge from the null point.. In both of these equations. whereas a photospheric null with a spine directed vertically is called upright. negative) upright nulls. A photospheric null point whose spine lies in the plane of the sources is described as prone. where represents the number of positive or negative sources and the number of positive or negative nulls. ) and upright nulls (1. when the net flux in the source plane is zero. negative) sources or to positive (respectively. 2002). is the number of potential maxima (see. these field lines converge on the null. Inverarity and Priest. and is the number of saddle points. These types are also known as boundary and internal nulls (respectively) in the literature (e. Together.10) (1. 1999). When all of the sources are located on a plane (the photosphere). maxima (respectively.g. Points lying in this plane near to the null define field lines which form a separatrix surface (also called the fan) dividing space into regions of different connectivity: field lines on different sides of the surface either start from or end at different sources. the Kronecker-Poincar´ index e of the field will be two (Molodenskii and Syrovatskii. Longcope and Klapper. if both spines connect to the same source. the null is homovertebraic. The properties of nulls in 3D space are governed by the 3D Euler characteristic. flux balance is assumed: for an     ™ ¤• ” 3• This allows us to relate the numbers of sources ( ). 1977). there will be a population of nulls which lie in this plane. and define a fan plane. in fact the spine sources of the null. if the eigenvalues are negative. prone nulls ( ( ) by the two-dimensional Euler characteristic. On a contour of sufficiently large diameter. the field at a great distance from the sources is approximately dipolar. The null is called positive if and are both positive. called photospheric nulls. is the number of minima. Saddle points of the potential correspond to prone nulls.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 11 11 heterovertebraic. for instance. In a situation with flux balance. or negative if both are negative. minima) correspond either to positive (respectively.11)     H   ’ “  ¨ & p • ’ m & — ” • –  t Ž ‘ ’ p “ ¨ ‘   ¨ H Ž ˜ 3• t  • • ™E“   ˜ 3“ H  “ • 3• t          . The Euler characteristic equation then holds in the photospheric plane.

Lau and Finn. Making this distinction. Separators are field lines which begin at one null point and end at another. which do not. 1988.     › aš eš eš “ Ÿ & “  h œ – 1 œ  ž h Dœ › q“ e “  & “  1 œ h …h œ – e “ h Xh œ ¨  Ÿ  Dœ h …h œ p “ – — ¨ ž  Dœ  œ ˜ “ “  œ         . Continuity arguments can be used to show that a separator connects two nulls if and only if the fan of one null is bounded in part by the spine of the other (as in Figure 1. 2001). The method for doing so is explained in Chapter 2. separators ( ). The proof is given in Appendix A. it is necessary to add a balancing source at a great distance and increase .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 12 12 unbalanced case. each source is represented by a node on the graph.12) although this applies to the whole of space rather than to the coronal half-space. The separators in this case lie on the boundary of only two connectivity regions.13) the number of purely coronal     Ÿ   œ ž  Dœ where is the number of photospheric domains. Galsgaard and Nordlund. 1996. and purely coronal domains. Separators can also be seen as the boundary of four different regions of connectivity . and accordingly.1 in the upright null state. Such separators will be given the name half separators as opposed to proper separators which lie on the boundary of four regions. 1990.3. we must differentiate between photospheric domains. An example will be discussed in Section 2. if any field lines connect two sources and then the corresponding nodes and are connected. it is possible to catalogue quite complex topologies with some confidence. For a result in this region. which contain field lines which lie in the photosphere. Longcope and Klapper (2002) found a relationship between the number of flux domains ( ). In this. null points ( ) and sources ( ): (1.3). Priest and Titov. where the eponymous upright null has both of its spines connecting to the same source.6. A useful tool in calculating even a fairly simple topology is the domain graph (Longcope.although the two definitions aren’t quite equivalent. we can modify the equation to: (1. They are the three-dimensional analogue of a two-dimensional X-point and are prime locations for reconnection (Greene. 1997). In conjunction with knowledge about the number of nulls. also called flux domains.

Red [blue] if due to positive [negative] null. Feature Null point Flux source Spine field line Fan field line Separator field line Depicted as Filled circle Star Heavy solid line Thin solid line Heavy dashed line Colouring Red [blue] if positive. [negative].1: Loop structures imaged by the TRACE satellite. often magenta.1: Legend for all topology diagrams in this thesis.1. Red [blue] if positive.                 . Red [blue] if due to positive [negative] null. Any document which mentions TRACE is legally required to include such a picture. [negative].“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 13 13 Figure 1. Table 1. Various.

                .2: The local structure of a magnetic null. In one direction.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 14 14 z spine y fan x Figure 1.3. the field lines cluster around an isolated field line known as the spine. The field lines of this fan plane form a separatrix surface. which generally divides space into regions of different connectivity. the lines spread out in a fan plane. perpendicular to this.

3.                 . Each separatrix (thin plane) is partly bounded by the spine (thick solid line) of the other.3: Schematic diagram of a separator (dashed black line) joining two nulls (red and blue dots). A proof of this is found in Appendix A.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 15 15 Source Fan Null Spine Figure 1.

or by allowing two separatrix surfaces to intersect.1 Local bifurcations A local bifurcation is one in which a pair of nulls is created or destroyed. although we will leave some of the new. and modelled analytically. During such a bifurcation. Global bifurcations in which the structure of the field changes. the number of photospheric nulls. 1. discussed by Brown and Priest (1999a) and Brown and Priest (2001): the local separator bifurcation and the local double-separator bifurcation. we will examine several different types of bifurcation. the number of coronal nulls and     hž œ ¡ ¡         .for instance by creating a pair of null points. it is possible to force a change from one topological state to another . by Brown and Priest (1999a). 1.4 Bifurcations In this section.11) insists that the two nulls be of opposite sign.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 16 16 By changing the source strengths and positions of the sources. we look in detail at some of the elementary bifurcations considered in this thesis.4. the number of sources. giving rise to a separator. Local separator bifurcation The local separator bifurcation (LSB) was studied in detail. In this work. The three-dimensional Euler characteristic equation (Equation 1. two null points either spontaneously appear or collide and annihilate each other. more complicated bifurcations until Chapter 3. If the bifurcation     “ hŸ œ domains. There are two known simple examples. in two distinct classes: Local bifurcations in which the number of nulls changes.

10) forces one of the nulls to be positive and the other negative. Eventually. Although we have yet to find a proof. Again. it then splits into two nulls.then the two-dimensional Euler characteristic equation (Equation 1. the coronal null and its mirror image must be of the same sign. creating one coronal null (one lying above the photosphere) and a mirror image null below the photosphere. although Chapters 3 and 4 discuss this further .11 insists that both of these nulls be of the sign of the original photospheric null. which provides a mirror corona for . the blue null will annihilate the black null in the reverse process. and that the photospheric null change sign.4. A single null becomes three. a null point becomes a third-order null before splitting into three first-order nulls. it seems likely that a local separator bifurcation requires the black and red nulls (of the same type) to share exactly one of their spine sources. It seems unlikely that an LDSB would take place anywhere other than on the photosphere. The process is illustrated in Figure 1. This type of bifurcation requires a high degree of symmetry. who provided an analytical model for it. discussed in Appendix C.5.4. This is based only on the absence of a counter-example. although the counter-example would require an unlikely-looking topology. The process is illustrated in Figure 1. A second-order null appears out of nothing in the second frame. We believe this bifurcation requires at least two sources of both signs to take place. By symmetry.which is more usual. such as that provided by the photosphere.         7 ‘ w†         .4.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 17 17 takes place in the plane . leaving only the red null. In it. Local double-separator bifurcation The local double-separator bifurcation (LDSB) was analysed by Brown and Priest (2001). the three-dimensional Euler characteristic equation 1. we have no proof. creating two new separators. It certainly appears to be always true.

respectively.4: Local separator bifurcation. in the centre. but is not strictly part of it. Figure 1. a single null point (black dot) exists. These two nulls are linked by a separator (purple dashed line).4.4.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 18 18 Figure 1. In the left-hand frame. it becomes a third-order null. In the second frame (centre).                 . the null has split into three: a red null above the photosphere. This splits into two nulls (red and blue) in the third frame. On the right. a second-order null (purple dot) comes into existence. the dashed black line is also a separator created by the bifurcation. a single null (red dot) exists. a blue null on the photosphere. The two new separators are marked by light and dark purple dashed lines.5: Local double-separator bifurcation. Thick and thin solid curves represent spine and fan field lines. and a pink null below the photosphere. In the first frame (left).

however. At the moment of bifurcation (centre) the spine technically forms a separator because it connects two null points. the global separator bifurcation (Brown and Priest. this configuration is highly unstable. a separatrix grows infinitely large and wraps around to the other side of the configuration.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 19 19 1.a realignment of separatrix surfaces and spine field lines. The                 . On the left there are two separatrix domes intersecting in a separator. 1999a).4. Instead. 1999a). 1999a). the global separatrix quasi-bifurcation and the global spine quasi-bifurcation (Beveridge et al.4. As the two domes move apart.2 Global bifurcations Global bifurcations differ from local bifurcations in that null points are not created or destroyed.6. the fan now connects to the source originally connected to the spine. the spine passes through the fan to connect to a different source. Global spine-fan bifurcation The global spine-fan bifurcation is discussed in Brown and Priest (1999a). 2002). There are four simple instances of global bifurcations: the global spine-fan bifurcation (Brown and Priest. to leave the detached topology (right).4. at the moment of bifurcation (middle). it reaches the plane and vanishes. the separator falls in height until.7 shows an example of this. for example. is wellunderstood (Brown and Priest. Global separatrix quasi-bifurcation In the global separatrix quasi-bifurcation. This process is shown in Figure 1. (2002). until the spine lies in the fan surface. in which a separator is destroyed or created. likewise. As the process continues. Figure 1. Global separator bifurcation The global separator bifurcation. discussed in Beveridge et al. they involve a change in the global structure of the field . The spine and fan involved in the bifurcation originally connect to different sources (left).. It allows a spine field line connecting to one source and a separatrix connecting to another swap connectivities. the two approach.

By this process. The intersecting separatrix surfaces approach each other (left). there are now two detached separatrix surfaces. The dotted black line is not a field line. the fan and spine swap connectivities.8: Global separatrix quasi-bifurcation. the separator lies in the plane (centre) before vanishing (right). One of the separatrix domes (the blue one) grows in size (left) until it becomes a separatrix wall (centre) and eventually wraps around the other (bottom). Figure 1.4. The red spine initially connects to the left of the configuration. but simply a reference line connecting the two nulls. The two approach each other until (centre) the red spine lies in the blue fan plane (hence the name ‘spine-fan’). and the separator drops in height.4. At the point of bifurcation.6: Global spine-fan bifurcation. Figure 1. and the blue fan connects to the right. This bifurcation requires two nulls of the same sign.7: Global separator bifurcation.                 .4.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 20 20 Figure 1.

                . grows until it forms a separatrix wall (centre) and eventually wraps around to the other side of the configuration (right). there may be a change of topological state from one type to another (as in the change from an enclosed state to a nested state in the three-source case (Brown and Priest. The separatrix wall still divides the space into two distinct regions. After the bifurcation. as opposed to regular bifurcations where the skeleton is altered within a bounded region. but does not enclose either of them.8 are indeed distinct because the separatrix domes enclose different sources. However.4. We refer to this as a quasi-bifurcation because one of the features of the skeleton (in this case the separatrix surface) moves off to infinity.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 21 21 Figure 1. but on the other side of the system. in such a way that the separatrix dome now encloses a different source. or. One separatrix surface containing a spine (the blue one). the field lines connect again with the same source. there may be a change of handedness from one state to another distinct state of the same type. there is no regular bifurcation behaviour in any bounded region. One separatrix dome grows progressively larger until it extends to infinity and becomes a separatrix ‘wall’. 1999a)).9) is effectively identical to the global separatrix quasi-bifurcation except that the separatrix involved contains the spine field line of the other null. Global spine quasi-bifurcation The global spine quasi-bifurcation (Figure 1.4. process is shown in Figure 1.8. When this movement to infinity happens.4. Here the left and right states in Figure 1.9: Global spine quasi-bifurcation. as in the present case.4.

Until now. Others. This is a pre-                 . we will consider the possible topologies due to a situation with four balanced sources. it was tacitly assumed that local bifurcations could take place only in the same plane as the sources. We discover that three further topologies are possible. which relies to a great degree on symmetry. it is possible for such a local bifurcation to have an additional global effect. We generalise the analysis to a less-restricted case with four balanced sources. We find four distinct topologies are possible in this case. often Byzantine.5 Outline The aim of this thesis is to use the technique of Magnetic Charge Topology to examine certain configurations of the magnetic field in the solar corona. the unexpected result that local bifurcations can take place outwith the source plane is discovered. In Chapter 3. Some of these configurations are relatively simple. understand and communicate these. adding two separators at some distance from the bifurcation. before applying it first to a simple system of two bipoles. We conclude Chapter 2 with a discussion of the bifurcations between the various states. but still involves four separators becoming five. the methods used to find. With seven sources. like the seven-source scenario or the Monte Carlo experiments are far more complicated. 2001). (1988). We look in some detail at the bifurcation process which is relatively simple with five sources. although we go on to consider some seven-source configurations. This corresponds to the fairly common solar occurrence of the emergence of a new bipole into an existing bipolar region. and a comparison to the unbalanced threesource catalogue of Brown and Priest (1999a). and produce a bifurcation diagram for this scenario. In some sense. structures are just as important as the mathematical results. and on balanced foursource scenarios by Gorbachev et al. We begin by considering previous analysis undertaken in particular by Brown and Priest (1999a) on unbalanced three-source systems. This can be achieved with as few as five unbalanced sources. In the following chapter. We then discuss a systematic method for finding which topologies are possible. such as the four-source systems.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 22 22 1. we show that a local separator bifurcation can take place above the plane. While this is almost certainly true for the local double-separator bifurcation (Brown and Priest.

“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 23 23 cursor to a cartoon model of Magnetic Breakout in Chapter 4. This leads to the conclusion that a typical elemental loop has a diameter of around 200km. by overlaying pairs of end regions. In Chapter 5. as considered by Longcope and van Ballegooijen (2002).                 . These are defined as all of the flux joining two photospheric flux sources.11) to determine the fraction of photospheric nulls which are upright in a particular scenario. agreeing with the estimate of Priest et al. this implies that each source connects to about 20 sources in the other end region. We consider the end regions of a superloop. One of the coronal null points and one of the photospheric nulls then undergo a global spine-fan bifurcation which allows previously enclosed flux in a delta-sunspot configuration to connect to distant flux systems. It is possible to use a gradient map in conjunction with the Euler characteristic equations (Equations 1. a topological model is used to analyse the properties of elemental flux loops.10 and 1. Each of our end regions consists of 1000 sources arranged according to a planar poisson point process. There is a tendency for the separatrices of the prone nulls to form ‘trunks’. We continue by finding the density and distribution of separators in a superloop. most likely due to the tendency of separatrices to form trunks. We find there are approximately 18 separators for each source. while others will compensate by being much larger than this estimate. analogous to river valleys in a geographical map. This model relies on a slightly simpler coronal bifurcation which involves only two separators. and a specified distribution of fluxes. We also find that the arrangement of separators is consistent with a concentration into clusters of about 130. this is the topological analogue to breakout. (2002). This leads us to believe that many of the elemental loops will contain very little flux. with a specified flux imbalance. We conclude with a discussion of our results and their significance for the world of solar physics. made up of many elemental loops.

1 Abstract The Sun’s atmosphere contains many diverse phenomena that are dominated by the coronal magnetic field. In this chapter. and three states when one source is of opposite sign to the other three.e. i. we study the topological structure of the coronal magnetic field arising from the interaction of four magnetic point sources in flux balance. topologically stable states are possible: four in the case where there are two positive and two negative sources. mean that the journey is unnecessary. Andrew Harvey. 24                 .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 24 Chapter 2 Topologies due to four balanced sources Knowing that we are looking for something we already have and are does not. To understand these phenomena it is helpful to determine first the structure of the magnetic field. We show by means of bifurcation diagrams how the magnetic configuration can change as the parameters are altered. of course. the magnetic topology. only that there is a vast and sublime joke waiting to be discovered at its end. The Direct Path 2. we also examine the possible bifurcations between the states. We find that seven distinct.

since they concerned themselves with existence proofs rather than a quantitative analysis. (1988). and that separators do not occur in every case. following for instance Gorbachev et al. for instance. we show the method we will use to catalogue the topologies.. who consider general solutions for such nulls and how they can                 . 2002). 209 of Solar Physics. Their bifurcation analysis was also somewhat limited.2 Introduction An important long-term project is to categorise and study the different types of topology of the coronal magnetic field as a prerequisite for a full understanding of the mechanisms which control dynamic phenomena such as flares and loop structures.3. as well as any separators. our aim is to focus at first on the simplest class of complex topologies that occurs in practice in a solar active region. but made no mention of stability. we introduce the problem. In Section 2. The arrangement of these structures determines their topology. We examine here the topologies due to a small number of discrete point sources in the photosphere. They gave a preliminary treatment of four sources and found that a coronal null can exist in such a configuration. They also showed that a null line can exist in a non-co-linear configuration.5 examines the bifurcations between them.2. This consists of the positions of the sources and any null points along with their spine curves and fan. when a new bipole emerges into a pre-existing bipolar region. before extending the analysis to a more general balanced four-source case. We consider the magnetic skeleton of the field as described in Section 1. since it arises reasonably frequently.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 25 25 In Section 2. 2. Section 2. This first scenario is of some importance.4. namely the field due to two dipoles.6 details the different types of topology that can be created with this model. The work in this chapter relating to two bipoles was published in Vol. We conclude with a discussion of our results. We outline our assumptions and the model adopted in Section 2. or separatrix surfaces. In this chapter. and Section 2.3. September 2002 (Beveridge et al.2. Further work on coronal nulls has been carried out by Inverarity and Priest (1999) and Brown and Priest (2001).

With three sources of the same sign.4). those with two sources of one sign outweighing a single source of the other. there are three flux domains.                 . one of the separatrix surfaces forms a dome.2). Each of these connects a source to a balancing source at infinity. four regions of connectivity exist. In the separate state . although one of the domes now encloses the other.3). This study is similar to work undertaken by Priest et al.2. we assume the majority of the sources are positive.2. They found that eight topologies are possible in that case. there are also three possible topologies (Figure 2. Firstly.2. and one lies entirely inside the other. There are three regions of connectivity.1). In the divided state. In the triangular state. The enclosed state is quite similar. These do not touch. while the other is a wall which intersects it. and by Brown and Priest (1999a) who completely classified the threesource scenario. there is the nested state. They divide the scenarios into three classes: those with three sources of the same sign. allowing three flux domains. Lastly. When the odd source outweighs the two sources of the same sign. The separatrix surface of the upright null lies in the plane. The separatrices of the two original prone nulls are now also bounded by this spine. in which both of the separatrix surfaces are domes. one is a wall and the other a dome.2). and is bounded by the spines of the three prone nulls. These walls meet in the spine of the upright null. Again. two topologies are possible (see Figure 2. and bound the separatrix of the new prone null.5. in the touching state. (1997) on two-source and simple three-source cases. there are two separatrix domes which meet at the negative source. There are now three separatrix walls dividing space into three flux domains as before. Both spines of the upright null connect to the odd source.2. in the detached state (Figure 2. a three-dimensional view of this more complicated topology can be seen in Figure 2. in the intersecting state (Figure 2. there are two disconnected surfaces. and those with one source outweighing two sources of the opposite sign. an upright null and an additional prone null exist. an upright null and an additional prone null exist. Secondly. Without loss of generality.2. When two sources of the same sign outweigh one of the opposite sign. and analysed the bifurcations between them. two unconnected separator walls exist.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 26 26 bifurcate out of the photosphere into the corona. there are three possible topologies (Figure 2. Lastly. dividing space into three flux domains.2.

the intersecting state. The stars represent sources and the dots null points. thick solid lines are spine field lines. the separate state. the touching state.1.1: Possible topologies with three positive sources: left.2. the nested state. the detached state.2: Possible topologies with two strong positive sources: left. the triangular state. Figure 2. right. centre.2.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 27 27 Figure 2. the enclosed state. centre. right. the divided state.2. while dashed lines represent separators. and right. All topology pictures in this chapter follow the legend in Table 1.3: Possible topologies with two weak positive sources: left.                 . thin solid lines are fan field lines. Figure 2.

the intersecting case.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 28 28 Figure 2.                 . The thick solid lines are spine field lines. the large dots are null points. respectively. The dashed line is a separator.4: A typical three-source topology . The red and blue crosses represent positive and negative sources.2. which is the line of intersection between two separatrix surfaces (containing the lighter solid field lines) which here form a dome and a wall.

Linear force-free fields are unlikely to have any different topological states. we require a model and a parameterisation of the magnetic field. To do this. To do this. model and method As described in Sections 1. before calculating numerically the field’s skeleton. 2000). the field is given (2. particularly for non-extreme values of . We can also . We consider four flux sources situated in the photosphere. by re-scaling. In other words. we can re-scale the geometry by choosing two of the source locations as and .1)     € ˜˜˜ • & kkXd — ed C 7& 7& 7A ¨ d ¤ % ¨ e qd d Ctd  Hd  A § Š ¦ … ¢ £¨ •  q j ¨ t V –    V ke C A …„)! C– ‚b „A d h i  d v ¡  ©¨ ¨ sd •         .3 Assumptions. We then classify the topology into one of the types found by the method described in the following section.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 29 29 2. flux balance ensures that ). Without loss of generality. we will make the further assumption that the field is potential. for the sake of simplicity. In general.3. Our aim is to produce diagrams to show where bifurcations occur in parameter space (bifurcation diagrams). which might model a new sunspot pair emerging into an existing sunspot region. The precise parameter values that produce changes between them will certainly differ depending on how far from potential the field is (Brown and Priest.8: with strengths ( ). we find the null points of the magnetic field at certain locations in parameter space.1 to just six dimensionless parameters. and two free strength parameters ( and . The same is most likely true of non-linear force free fields where the photospheric flux patches are discrete. e As we are studying the topology of the field. This would introduce an extra set of parameters into the already complicated analysis presented here. Included in this set-up is the fairly common scenario of two bipoles.2 and 1. we can reduce the twelve dimensional parameters of Equation 2. the coronal magnetic field is often considered to be force-free (since and the coronal motions are much slower than the Alfv´ n speed). then. We examine the case with .     d C 7& 7& A td Hd ¨ ¥ … ¨ For a set of discrete sources placed at by Equation 1. we have four free core-scale the source strengths so that ordinate parameters ( and ).

Within each class.6: three sources of one sign all connect to a single source of the other. any two sources are joined by at least one path. as shown in Figure 2.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 30 30 Our expression for is then (2. multiple connections are indeed permitted (Longcope. we decide to fix and the position of so as to reduce the number of parameters to three. either all possible connectivities occur or one is excluded. or if there are two sources of each polarity. However. This last restriction is a little contentious: in a situation with many sources. 2.4 Domain graph method We find the possible topologies by calculating which domain graphs (see Section 1. To do this. we need to know which topologies are possible.3) are allowable under the following rules: A positive source may only connect to negative sources and vice versa. These graphs correspond to three classes of topology.2) Since six parameters is still too many to permit a comprehensive study.that is to say.4. For and find where the certain values of we then vary the position of the fourth source bifurcations occur. The graph must be connected . Multiple connections between two sources are not permitted. it suffices to find a sample           ªU ¨ V V V «  tV  tV t ªU V tV V ˜ § |  ¦b    d    C A …„)! C §  ‚aC t d  H d  A A C ¦  „A t d C « „A H d   C …„A C A …‚! § … ¦ … td Hd ¡ ¡ ¡         . In the four-source scenario. For each class. 2001). the topology can change only by means of a bifurcation with no effect on connectivity: all of the elementary bifurcations described in Section 1.4 apart from the global separator bifurcation (in which a flux domain is created or destroyed) are possible. three domain graphs are possible. subject to their normal restrictions. these are quite unlikely in scenarios with few sources. though. each with its own connectivity pattern.

Centre and right: with two sources of each polarity.the touching case. or a negative source and a positive source are disconnected. while the other two are part-domes. + + + − + − − + − + − + Figure 2.2.4. The separatrix of the upright null (blue) is bounded by the three red spines. the separatrix of the central prone null is a bounded wall. the only possibility is that the negative source connects to all three positive sources. and stretches to infinity. either each positive source connects to both negative sources and vice versa.5: A complicated three-source topology . there are two possibilities. Left: with three positive and one negative source.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 31 31 Figure 2.                 . The separatrices of all three prone nulls (red dots) are bounded by the blue spine.6: Possible domain graphs for four sources.

as described in Appendix B. In so doing. 2. where three flux domains exist. we find that these are the only two possible topologies for the third class. though. Repeating the analysis for the nested state. closer in. Local double-separator: Impossible. its co-ordinates are . Consider the possible bifurcations: Local separator: Impossible. From each such configuration.6.6. The         o n C 7 & ¨ p& ¨ „A o n C ¨ p& ¨ „A ¡ ¡ ¡ ¡ ¡         . because it requires a separator. we find the parameters where bifurcations occur and join them with smooth curves. For instance. the field adopts a separate or enclosed topology.5 Bifurcation diagrams Let us consider the arrangements of sources that produce the various topological states.12). balancing source to move freely around the source plane. Applying this method to the three classes gives us seven topologies. Global separatrix quasi-bifurcation: Possible. the third scenario. and follow fan field lines from each of the nulls numerically. We begin by fixing three sources and allowing a fourth. as described in Section 2. as it changes to the nested state (Figure 2. By analysing the connectivity of these field lines. is satisfied by the detached state (Figure 2. Global spine quasi-bifurcation: Possible. it is possible to determine the topology for a given set of sources.6. since it requires two nulls of the same sign. but doesn’t change the topology. the topology is invariably in the upright null state. we find the null points. First.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 32 32 topology and consider how it can bifurcate. we will put these into context by means of bifurcation diagrams. We find that when the moving source is far from the fixed sources. since it requires at least three sources of same polarity. Global spine-fan: Impossible. we analyse a balanced four-source case with three positive sources.13).7. If Figure 2.5.

Each enclosed region touches a source. the field is in the intersecting state. intersecting and coronal null states) are possible. or between then.8) are rather complicated and include six different types of bifurcation (namely. outwith the intersecting region. which in turn are separated by a global separatrix quasi-bifurcation. if there are two sources of each polarity. nested.7 and 2. as described in Section 1. we do the same thing for a balanced four-source case with two positive and two negative sources. These two scenarios. a global spine quasi-bifurcation line (dash-dot-dotted line) passes through the source at the origin. Lastly.5.5. There is also a region in which the topology has a coronal null. between them. and is bounded on either side by a global spine (dotted line) and a global separatrix (dashed line) quasi-bifurcation. Lastly. A global separator bifurcation (solid line) separates these regions from the nested and detached regions. In Figure 2. this touches two of the nulls and is divided from the intersecting region by a local double-separator bifurcation marked by a dashed line. a local separator bifurcation. allow all seven permissible topologies. this becomes a global separatrix quasi-bifurcation. They allow changes of topology between several distinct states: in a situation with three sources of one sign and one of the other. Calculating the bifurcation diagrams is made particularly difficult by the global separatrix                 . which occur when the fourth source is (in some sense) between the three others. then four states (the detached.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 33 33 local separator bifurcation (marked by a solid line) forms the boundary between these two regions. and all six permissible bifurcations. the separate. There is a further global separatrix quasi-bifurcation line which surrounds the sources and divides one intersecting state from another. three topologies (namely. a local double-separator bifurcation. enclosed and upright null states) are possible. a global spine-fan bifurcation.4. a global separatrix quasi-bifurcation and a global spine quasi-bifurcation). When the moving source is distant from the sources.8.5. a global separator bifurcation. The resulting bifurcation diagrams (Figures 2. the boundaries between the three separate regions. are formed by the global spine-fan bifurcation.

each surrounding one of the positive sources and connecting to the negative source. 2.3. in the enclosed state. This implies that the number of photospheric nulls is even for a four-source setup. By using the Euler characteristic equations detailed in Section 1. there are two photospheric nulls.1 Three positive sources and one negative Three topologies are possible in this class: the separate state. two separatrix domes exist. the only difference is that. positive) and one of the other.6.6 Topologies It is the different possible connectivities of the fan and spine field lines which define the different topologies of the overlying coronal magnetic configuration.11) dictates that there be two more positive nulls than negative.9 and 2. in which parts of the skeleton move off to infinity and are not easily found by automatic computational algorithms. In the separate state. the enclosed state and the upright null state. where a spine in the three-source scenario connected to infinity. but a case with four photospheric nulls (three prone and one upright) does exist (the upright null state). 2. In a situation with three sources of one polarity (say.10). if there are two sources of each polarity. one of the domes surrounds the other. In most cases. we see from Equation 1.10 that there must be two more prone nulls than upright nulls. the three-dimensional Euler characteristic (Equation 1. Separate and enclosed states In both of these cases (Figures 2.6.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 34 34 and the global spine quasi-bifurcations. here it connects                 .6. the two domes are independent. there must be as many positive nulls as negative. These are very similar to the three-source separate and enclosed states.

“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 35



4 U 2 S 0 E E −2 S S



U U −4 −2 0 2 4

, and , with strengths , and . A fourth balancing source with strength is allowed to move freely. The different regions on the plot indicate where the fourth source must be placed to give these topologies. The lines represent bifurcations: the solid line represents a local separator bifurcation, and the dotted line a global spine-fan bifurcation. The dashed lines are global separatrix quasi-bifurcations, while the dot-dashed lines represent global spine quasi-bifurcations. The topological states are represented by letters: U is upright, E enclosed and S separate.



® ­ ¹¬ '¿ X°

Figure 2.5.7: Bifurcation diagram for three positive sources. Three sources are fixed at


  ® ¸ "¾¼ » …° ¹ ® ³ p¼ ¶ ® ­ w½¼ ‹¶¹ à  ® À ÄUÁƒ¼ ² ¹ °± ¹° |» Xƒ…º …„¯ ® ¸ )q¬ ²°±¶ ŠƒI·¯ ® ³ µ´¬ ²°± ° ŠƒX„¯  


“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 36


2 I 1 D 0 I −1 I −2 −2 −1 0 CN 1 2 N I I



® ³ Åq¬

¹ ® ­ ''¬ » …°

Figure 2.5.8: Bifurcation diagram for a bipolar case. Three sources are fixed at

, and , with strengths , and . A fourth balancing source with strength is allowed to move freely. The different regions on the plot indicate where the fourth source must be placed to give these topologies. The lines represent bifurcations: the solid line represents a global separator bifurcation, and the dashed line a local double-separator bifurcation. The dotted line represents a global separatrix quasi-bifurcation, and the dash-doubledotted line a global spine quasi-bifurcation. The four possible topologies are denoted by letters I (intersecting), D (detached), N (nested) and CN (coronal null).


  ²°± ° |¾X„¯  ® ¸ ©¾¼ » …° ¹ ® ³ Áp¼ ¶ ® ­ ˆf¼ ° I¶ ¹  Ǯ À ¼ ² ¹°± ¹ ° |» …ƒ…º X„¯ ® ¸ SƬ ²°±¶ Šƒ|·¯  


“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 37

37 to a third positive source. These two cases also subsume the divided state; whereas both separatrices in that state connect to infinity, here, both connect to a source.

Upright null state In the upright null state (Figure 2.6.11), three prone nulls and an upright null exist. The fan of the upright null lies in the plane and is bounded by the spines of the prone nulls; its spine connects to the negative source above and below the plane. The spine bounds all of the separatrix surfaces from the prone nulls, two of which form part-domes, and the other a bounded wall. This is similar to both the touching and triangular states in the three-source scenario; in both of those cases, either separatrices or spines were connected to infinity. Here, they connect to a source.

2.6.2 Two positive sources and two negative: three flux domains
As previously discussed, only two topologies are possible in this case: the detached and nested states.

Detached and nested states. If all of the fan field lines from one null connect to one source and all those in the other fan connect to the other, the state is either detached (Figure 2.6.12) or nested (Figure 2.6.13). The only difference between the two states is that in the nested state, one of the separatrix domes envelops the other, while the detached state is topologically identical to two independent and unbalanced pairs of sources. These two states are very similar to the three-source detached and nested states; in those situations, one of the separatrix surfaces connected to infinity; here, the surfaces connect to a source.




10: Enclosed state.9: Separate state. one is entirely enclosed by the other.6. The separatrix of the negative null lies entirely in the plane and is bounded by the spine field lines of the positive nulls. Figure 2. Two separatrix domes meet only at the negative source.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 38 38 Figure 2.6. while the other is a wall.6.11: Upright null state.         ÉË ÈÈ ÊÊ Í ÏÐÑÒÍÎÎ Ì ÔÕÖ× ÓÓÓ ÛÝÙÙ ÚÚ ÜÜ ØØØ         . Figure 2. There are three separatrix surfaces from positive nulls: two form part-domes bounded by the spine of the upright null. Two independent separatrix domes meet only at the negative source. also bounded by the blue spine.

13: Nested state.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 39 39 Figure 2. both separatrix domes are often much larger and are far from circular. in practice.6. One separatrix dome surrounds the other.6. The two separatrix domes do not intersect.12: Detached state. There is no separator and only three regions of connectivity. Figure 2. There are three regions of connectivity and no separator exists. These are schematic plots.                 .

two topologies are possible: the intersecting state and the coronal null state.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 40 40 2. However. for the physical interpretation. network elements and intense flux tubes. the separatrix wall connected to infinity. which are constantly appearing. see Theorem 2 in Appendix A for a proof. this region is disregarded. if both nulls are of the same sign. fragmenting. it connects to a fourth source.15. here. cancelling and disappearing. one must be above the photosphere (i. considered only for the mathematics.14).7 Discussion In reality. there. since         7 ‘ B†         .e. This is the coronal null state (Figure 2. studying simpler topologies due to three or four sources is important. and the nulls are of different sign. it can be shown that coronal nulls exist only in highly unstable null rings in the unbalanced three source case. Because of the symmetry in the plane. ephemeral regions. This is quite similar to the three-source intersecting state. in fact. Coronal null state Finally. 2. a further two nulls of the opposite sign are required to satisfy the three-dimensional Euler characteristic.3 Two positive sources and two negative: four flux domains In this scenario. the solar surface contains many thousands of flux ‘sources’ in the form of sunspots. merging. a coronal null) and the other in the region . The overlying coronal magnetic field has therefore an incredibly complex nature. which intersect in a separator field line.6. then we have the intersecting state (Figure 2.6. Intersecting state If the fan field lines for a null in the plane connect to different sources.6. The fans of the two nulls here form two separatrix domes.) This state has no three-source analogue.

14: Intersecting state. each of which is a field line joining the coronal null to a null in the photospheric plane. as a projection in the plane (left) and in three dimensions (right) produced by two positive sources (pink stars) and negative sources (red stars).15: Coronal null state.6. The fan of each null (heavy dot) defines a separatrix surface (thin solid lines). Figure 2. There are four regions of different connectivity and two separators.6.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 41 41 Figure 2. the separatrices form domes which intersect in a separator (dashed line). In this case. There are four distinct regions of connectivity.         øø øßøß øßøß ßßøøø ùßùß ùù ùßùß ßßùùùù ùßùß ñß ïß ðß îß ñ ïß îïðñßñ ßßóîïðñßòîßòïßóïßòðßòñßîïðñîïïðññ ó ß äåæß ß äåæßäßçåæäßçåæ åå ãßãß ãã ãßãß ßßããã ôô ôô õõ õõ ôô õõ ôôõõôõ ôôô ôôô õõõ õõõ ôôô õõõ ßíéßééëëßíèßìèêßìê ì èèêê í ëèß éëß ê èêß ößößöß ö÷÷ ö÷÷ ö÷÷ ößößöß ßßßöööö ö÷÷ßö÷÷ßö÷÷ß ââ àßàß áßáß ÞßÞß ÞàáâßÞàáâß ßßÞàáâÞàáâ         .

a third extra parameter. (If there is a flux imbalance. Here we catalogue all of the possible topological states due to four balanced sources. enclosed and touching states. We find analogues to all of these and. (2002). giving two sources of either polarity). enclosed and touching states. Again. only a cursory analysis has been reported of a few special cases with four sources. An exhaustive study of the topology due to four balanced sources is far more difficult to complete since it contains two more parameters. we find analogues to all three. would be included. Their analysis centred on one source with strength 1. a state with a coronal null. in addition.the positions of the three central sources and the strengths of two of them . In the range . namely the position co-ordinates of the fourth source. It is interesting to compare the results of the balanced four-source case with those of the unbalanced three-source case obtained by Brown and Priest (1999a). intersecting and detached states. it seems there is no bifurcation between the nested and detached states. they dealt also with three sources of the same sign (with a balancing source of the opposite sign). Finally. they find three types of topology: the (three-source) nested. so that the balancing source would have to be negative (giving three sources of the same polarity. In the Brown and Priest analysis. finding two topologies: the divided and the triangular states. The assumed balancing source at infinity in the three-source case prevents the infinite growth of the separatrix domes and spine loops. they again find three topological scenarios: the separate.would change the size and shape of the regions produced. but is highly unlikely to         d ˜ 7 ‘ d ‘ ûú˜ 7  ûú˜ 7  ‘ d         . This is because there is no three-source analogue to the global separatrix and global spine quasi-bifurcations. namely the strength of the imbalance.) Until now. and an analysis of the two-bipole case made by Beveridge et al. So far. a complete study of the topology of three sources has been undertaken (Brown and Priest. and two having strength . and one of the other). 1999a). We also find where bifurcations between the states take place.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 42 42 these act as building blocks for the whole corona. and provide a method to extend the analysis to greater numbers of sources. Examining the range (so that a source added to give flux balance would have to be positive. We expect that extending the analysis to force-free fields or changing the values of our fixed parameters . These are simply disguised versions of the separate.

Although understanding these topologies is an important task in its own right. it will be interesting in the future to undertake numerical MHD experiments on various bifurcations that we have identified in order to determine their dynamical consequences for the Sun’s atmosphere.                 .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 43 43 produce any fundamentally different topologies or bifurcations.

Until recently. windows in a house. Doors. They are important locations for reconnection and are believed to play a substantial role in the triggering of solar flares. well above the photosphere. Witter Brynner) Abstract Coronal null points are among magnetic topology’s most significant features. Yet little is known about the creation and destruction of coronal nulls. In this chapter. Lao Tzu. we show that there exist other mechanisms which create or destroy nulls in the corona. which takes place in the photosphere. Tao te ching (Trans. 44                 . Are used for their emptiness: Thus we are helped by what is not To use what is. the only known mechanism for such creation and destruction was local double-separator bifurcation.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 44 Chapter 3 Genesis of coronal null points Thirty spokes are made one by holes in a hub By vacancies joining them for a wheel’s use The use of clay in moulding pitchers Comes from the hollow of its absence.

1 Introduction One of the earliest papers to mention coronal null points was Molodenskii and Syrovatskii (1977). in essence. We analyse these new bifurcations. We will be considering in the following sections extensions of Brown and Priest’s work. We explain why this should be so in Section 3. who examined the balanced four-source case and spoke of null points as possible triggers for solar flares. (1988). Questions about the creation of coronal nulls began to be answered only when the careful analysis of small number of sources was undertaken. we show that such a bifurcation can occur. was in Gorbachev et al. with seven unbalanced sources. 3. shows that comparatively large numbers of nulls can be created in this way in a reasonably realistic scenario.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 45 45 Two examples will be presented to illustrate a new. (2003).4. There the story appears to have ended as far as MCT is concerned: more recent work. although the latter did hint (in passing) that local bifurcations might be possible in the corona.6. coronal local separator bifurcation. as described in Section 1. concentrated on the density of coronal null points above a photosphere containing many flux sources. even with large numbers of positive sources. and are the -. They found at most one coronal null. In the first example. such as Schrijver and Title (2002) and Longcope et al. The first real consideration of coronal nulls. Brown and Priest (2001) found that nulls could be created in an unbalanced four-source case through a local double-separator bifurcation. in preparation for the following chapter which will deal with the Magnetic Breakout Model for flares. They offered a ‘natural’ method for finding coronal nulls which. Inverarity and Priest (1999) considered a scenario in which a single positive source was surrounded by positive sources on a hexagonal network. though. The second. with five unbalanced sources. where . and further detailed in the following section. involved finding the intersection of curves satisfying with the surface . by adding a second ring of sources to the first. In each of these we will attempt to un-         ! 7 ¨ } ü ¨ { ü † o n ~ ü } ü { ü 7 ¨ ~ ü         .and -components of the magnetic field . .

2. Naturally. this alters the skeleton.2.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 46 46 derstand the nature of the bifurcations.3. For . symmetry considerations imply that everywhere. The skeleton of this configuration is fairly simple: the separatrix of the coronal null forms a dome based in the ring of photospheric spines. we must consider where the surfaces of . but it now lies in the source place as well. the surfaces (dashed lines) form a dome (upper) and a wall         7 7 ¨ ¨ { ü { ü 7 ‡ )† 7 7 7 ¨ ¨ 7¨ ~ ü ~ ü ¨ } ü ~ ü ¨ 7 † 7 ¨ } ü 7¨ 7 7 7 ¨ } ü ¨ ¨ { ü } ü } ü ¨ { ü         .1. whose separatrices still form walls bounded by the positive spine. as well as analysing them somewhat in terms of curves and surfaces. The positive null now lies in the photosphere. so null points occur where lines of and (in the plane) cross. we have disturbed the symmetry to avoid structurally unstable effects. Moving the central source away from the centre. In this configuration. leaving one photospheric null (of the same sign as the original coronal null) in its place. before concluding with a discussion.2. each linking a photospheric null to the coronal null. dividing the outlying volume into three segments. They surround a positive source with three negative sources. and intersect. while its own spine connects to the central. Its separatrix is still a dome bounded by the spines of the two remaining negative nulls. In Figure 3. 3. as in Figure 3. though. as plotted in Figure 3. It is instructive to examine the surfaces where various magnetic field components are equal to zero (zero surfaces). its spine still connects to the central positive source and to the balancing source. Now. The separatrices of the photospheric. There are three separators.2 Four unbalanced sources: the Brown and Priest case We begin by considering the work of Brown and Priest (2001) from a topological standpoint. In the source plane. positive source and to the balancing source at infinity. and eventually coalesces with this and its image below the corona.3. negative nulls form walls which meet in the coronal null’s spine. Surfaces where and pass through each source and each null point. there are only two separators. such that the positive source is outweighed by the others. they find that the coronal null falls in height towards one of the the photospheric nulls.

                .2: The configuration after a positive source has been perturbed and a local doubleseparator bifurcation has occurred. Figure 3.2.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 47 47 Figure 3. positive source (red star) is outweighed by the three negative sources (blue stars) surrounding it.2. The central.1: Brown and Priest’s four-source configuration in two (left) and three (right) dimensions. The positive null now lies in the photosphere and there is no coronal null. A coronal null (red dot) exists).

4. each null point is linked to exactly one source by a three-dimensional curve above the plane on which (a zero curve). to the right. After this. 3. the source near is a counter-example. for instance.1. The two end-points of this curve lie on different sides of the surface and hence the component along the line must vanish somewhere on it. It seems unlikely that this component would ever be anything other than . It is clear that in this case. The process is depicted in Figure 3.2.4. the sources are located at:         C   ûú˜ ˜ý C  7 & 7 A ˜ú ˜ý 7 & 7A 7 7 7 ¨ ¨ C ~ ü ¨ } ü ~ ü ˜ú & ˜ý 7 7A ¨ { ü 7 ¨ C  d & 7A { ü ~ ü ~ ü         . More precisely. Of particular note is the zero curve between the null near and the central source. the surfaces (dotted lines) do likewise.3 Five unbalanced sources: a coronal bifurcation 3.3.1 The double coronal null case Consider a configuration set up as follows: a positive central source is flanked by two nearby negative sources. A sixth. coincides with the null and eventually encloses it.5. with a dome to the right and a wall to the left. for example. So what has happened? Simply. this provides an intuitive means for understanding the local doubleseparator bifurcation as a zero curve passing through the intersection of two zero surfaces of the same component. surface also changes If the central source is moved. the shape and.3. balancing source is included at a great distance. is linked in this manner to the source near . so there is no coronal null. at a critical value. the null has bifurcated into the photosphere by means of the local double-separator bifurcation as previously described in Section 1. as would be the balancing source at a great distance. there is no further link crossing the zero surface. Perpendicular to this. two more positive sources are placed as shown in Figure 3. In fact. except in highly symmetric cases. and at a greater distance. The null near . It is not the case that every source is linked to a null.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 48 48 (lower). This point is the coronal null.

The purple dome represents the surface.         ° ® ¢ þ “£Ç® ¡ þ ° ® xÿ þ ° ® ÿ þ ° ® ¢ þ ˆ£® ¡ þ         .2. As the curve moves left. In the left-hand picture.3: Zero surfaces of the magnetic field for an unbalanced four-source case. these nulls coalesce as a third-order null (centre) before leaving just one first-order null (right). the curve of (dotted) intersects surfaces in three points (dots).2. while the green lines are curves upon which The coronal null point (dot) occurs when a zero-curve and zero-surface intersect.4: Schematic picture of local double-separator bifurcation.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 49 49 Figure 3. . Bz = 0 Bz = 0 Bx = By = 0 Bx = By = 0 Bz = 0 Bx = By = 0 Bz = 0 Bz = 0 Bz = 0 Figure 3.

there are four photospheric null points. The separatrices of the coronal nulls divide the flux from either of these sources between the two remaining photospheric sources.         ˜¨ “ ˜1 “ 7 ˜H “ 7 ¨ ~ ü ¨ } ü d ¨ { ü ú C ¦& 7A d d   d d   d d  † d C 7 & §A ¦ C ¤ & 7 A d C 7& A C ¤ & 7A d C 7& A C 7& 7A p¥ “ ˜¨ “ t “ p ˜H “ q “ p ˜1 “ p t “ ˜¨ œ ~ ü ˜H œ p t œ 1d d p q œ p¥ “         .3. respectively.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 50 50 Source Position Strength far distant In this unbalanced case. and the two coronal nulls are also linked by a separator. These are shown in Figure 3. but they will lie somewhere near and . There are five separators: each of the photospheric nulls is connected to the coronal null of opposite sign.3. it is worth examining the zero surfaces of this configuration (in fact. This topology is depicted in Figure 3.1. However. The linkage of the other two nulls is less clear: the detail of the centre shows that (top) is linked to the central source. The picture alone is insufficient to conclude that coronal nulls exist. Their exact location depends on . the combination of the pictures makes it apparent that connects to . The null points and (left and right) are clearly linked to the sources and . we displace the central source slightly to break the symmetry).7. and that this link appears to cross the surface twice. it component along this particular curve to suffices to examine the determine whether coronal nulls exist. giving two coronal nulls. because it is possible that the zero curve simply loops over the zero surface without crossing it. two coronal null points exist on the -axis. For smaller than some critical value . and Two domes (each comprising two separator surfaces) prevent any flux linking .6 and described in Table 3. Again.

“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 51 51 S4+ N4+ N3− S3− S0+ S1− N1− N2+ S2+ Figure 3.3.5: Photospheric skeleton of an unbalanced five-source case.3. There are five separators. Figure 3.                 .6: Five-source configuration with two coronal nulls (blue and red dots).

7: Zero surfaces for five-source.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 52 52 Null Position Spine connections and and and and and and Separatrix Forms half-dome bounded by spine of Forms half-dome bounded by spine of Forms half-dome bounded by spine of Forms half-dome bounded by spine of Forms wall bounded by source plane and spine of Forms wall bounded by spine of and reaching to balancing source. The left-hand picture shows the surfaces globally.3. two-null case with .1: Separatrix surfaces of five-source. Table 3. Figure 3. two-null case. while the right-hand picture shows a detail of the centre.         œ p “¨ œ ˜ “¨ œ p “¨ œ ˜ “¨ œ p “¨ º X° ¹ ® x¼ œ ˜ “¨ t “ p ˜1 “ p¥ “ ˜1 “ p¥ “ ˜¨ “ p q “ p ˜¨ “ t “ p ˜H “ q “ ˜H “ † C p & 7& C 7 & ú C & d C 7& ú C & C ˜ Š† & & 7 7A 7 A d 7A 7A A A œ p “¨ ˜¨ œ t œ p ˜H œ q œ œ ˜ “¨ p         .

with each positive null connected to each negative null. however. all local bifurcations are described in the sense that null points are created.2 The four-separator case As increases. they meet and form a second-order null point. there are four photospheric nulls. There are now four separators.3. as one would expect in a case without coronal nulls. The separatrices do change.3.) This behaviour is shown in Figure 3. it is worthwhile to examine the local separator bifurcation in the plane by way of comparison. as shown in the connectivity diagram Figure 3.3 Bifurcation behaviour Before we discuss the fairly complicated behaviour of this bifurcation. destroying null points. of course.3. The fan of the upright null is bounded by the spine of the new prone null and. This then splits into two nulls. In this instance there are three new separators where none existed before. none of the curves cross either of them. (Through the rest of this chapter. For now we will simply examine the topology. shows that there are now two and.8 and described in Table 3. The bifurcation behaviour in the five-source case is somewhat similar to this. the separatrices that formed the inner dome have become walls instead.2 The separatrix surfaces that previously defined the outer dome now form two distinct domes that meet in the spine field lines running across the middle of the configuration.11. Figure 3.3. whose spines are also unaffected.9. possible for them to work in reverse. 3. the (vertical) spine of one constitutes the boundary of the two original fans and the fan of the other new null. although it     7 ¨ } ü ¨ The zero surfaces diagram. the two coronal nulls approach and eventually annihilate. as depicted in Figure 3. The combination of these two changes allows magnetic flux to link the central source to the balancing source . the bifurcation process will be examined in the following section.3.10.3. surfaces     ˜1 “ 7 ¨ { ü ~ ü p¥ “ d         . By contrast.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 53 53 3. There are initially two separatrix surfaces which move closer to each other. (not pictured) the spines of the two original nulls. The photospheric topology remains unchanged. It is. At some critical point.

2: Separatrix surfaces for five-source.3.8: A five-source configuration with no coronal null. four-separator case.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 54 54 Figure 3. Null and and and and Table 3.     t œ p ˜¨ œ t œ p ˜¨ œ q œ p ˜H œ q œ p ˜H œ œ p “¨ œ ˜ “¨ œ p “¨ œ ˜ “¨ Separatrix (before) Half-dome bounded by spine of Half-dome bounded by spine of Half-dome bounded by spine of Half-dome bounded by spine of Separatrix (after) Dome bounded by spines of Wall bounded by spines of Dome bounded by spines of Wall bounded by spines of     p ˜¨ œ œ pt ˜H œ q œ         .

10: Zero surfaces for five-source.          |¶ ® ¼ ¹  ©  ©         .3. to the distant balanc- Figure 3.9: Change in connectivity between the two-coronal-null state (left) and the no-coronalnull state (right).“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 55 55 0 0 1 3 1 3 2 4 2 4 inf inf Figure 3. no-null case with . The bifurcation allows flux to connect the central source ing source .3.

4 Seven sources: more coronal bifurcations A more complicated and more interesting case is a direct extension of Brown and Priest’s example. Source Position Strength far distant It is necessary to offset the central source a small distance from the origin to avoid the spines of two coronal nulls coinciding. Both pairs of surfaces buckle towards each other.9).3. as shown in Figure 3. In this scenario. This null then splits into two. If the bifurcation destroys two nulls.14. There are now five separators: four connect photospheric nulls to coronal nulls. The effect in this case.4. we surround their four-source case with three sources of the same sign as the central source. it allows flux that was previously contained by the separatrix domes to ‘break out’ and connect to a distant flux system. is to allow or forbid connectivity between and . as shown in the following table and in Figure 3. This configuration is highly dependent on the symmetry of the sources and hence topologically unstable.3.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 56 56 now requires four separatrix surfaces. each new spine bounding two of the original fans and the fan due to the other new null. In terms of separators. 3. and form a second-order null where they meet. the four separators that originally linked the four photospheric nulls in a loop have now been redirected by way of the two new nulls.13.         C }  & { "A   C d ÁA  ! d d d ¤  ¤  ¤  d C ¤& 7A  ˜ú W C 7 & – ¤  A  ûú˜Xd &  W  C – ¤ ¤ A d C  & 7A ûú˜Xd & W C – ¤  ¤A úû˜ W C 7 & – ¤ A  C }  & { A  ˜¨ “ t “ p ˜H “ q “ ˜1 “ p p p¥ “ ˜s “ “ p¥ “ ˜1 “         . as we hinted before (Figure 3. and the other connects the two coronal nulls.

3.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 57 57 Figure 3.3.12: Bifurcation behaviour for coronal local separator bifurcation. Two separatrix surfaces (blue and red) move close to each other (left and centre left). C− D Spine of upper null (C−) C+ Fan of upper null (C−) Fan of lower null (C+) Spine of lower null (C+) Figure 3. Eventually they meet and form a secondorder null (green dot.                 . centre right) which then splits into two (right). Eventually they meet and form a second-order null (black dot. Four separatrix surfaces (blue.11: Bifurcation behaviour for local separator bifurcation. centre right) which then splits into two (right). red. maroon and dark green) move close to each other (left and centre-left).

Each edge separator is redirected via the two new coronal nulls. There are six photospheric nulls.3.4. three of each sign.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 58 58 2 1 2 1 C+ C− 3 4 3 4 Figure 3. S6+ N5+ S5− N6− N1+ S1− N2− S0+ N4− S3− S4+ N3+ S2+ Figure 3.14: Photospheric topology for seven-source state.                 .13: Separator changes for five-source bifurcation.

The two parts of the bottle are bounded on either side by the spines of the two negative coronal nulls and . its separatrix forms an inner dome bounded by the ring of negative spines. The separatrix of     ˜1 “ p¥ “ p œ “¨ œ ˜ ¨ “¨ † p H œ pt œ “¨ ˜q œ p¥ “ ˜1 “ ˜ œ œ ˜ s “¨ p¨ p “ ˜¨ “ d p¨ ˜1 “ œ p t “ ˜ œ d         . The separatrices of the negative coronal nulls now form a torus with its hole at and its outer edge on the ring of positive spines. This is summarised in Table 3. There are eight separators: each of the coronal nulls is connected to the three photospheric and intersect.4. which form arches. negative sources. as before and . Their separatrices together form a wine-bottle shape.3. bounded by the ring of positive spines. 3. The upper.16).5 Four coronal nulls As increases. positive null has a spine connecting to the central source and to one of the outer.4. This leads to a yet more complicated topology. There are six photospheric nulls. Each of them has spines connecting to adjacent nulls of the same sign.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 59 59 3. negative null has spine field lines connecting to the balancing source and to one of the inner. ) to the balancing source . Its separatrix forms an outer dome. For small values of .1 Two coronal null case This topology is shown in Figure 3.1. the spines of which connect to and . additionally.     œ The separatrices of photospheric nulls and have also changed. positive sources. whose base coincides with the ring of negative spines. There are now two positive coronal nulls. Their separatrix surfaces are walls or halfdomes bounded by the spines of coronal nulls.5. The boundaries between the two separatrices are the spines of the two positive coronal nulls. two new coronal nulls are created (Figure 3. there are two coronal null points close to the -axis. as do those nulls of opposite sign. the separatrices of of and . forming an inner ring of negative spines and an outer ring of positive spines. These spines connect (respectively. The lower.

15: Seven source.                 .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 60 60 CN6+ CN3− S0+ S6+ N6− N2− S3− N3+ S1− N1+ S2+ CN3− CN6+ S3− N3+ N4− S0+ N6− S6+ S5− N5+ S4+ Figure 3. two null state. right.4. a view from the right. view from the left. Left.

3: Separatrix details for seven-source.        p s œ ˜s “ p¥ “ ˜¨ “ ˜H “     Null Approx. . . . . and p¥ “ Table 3. and Dome connecting to . and Part-dome connecting to . and Wall connecting to . Position Spine connections and Wall connecting to . . . and Dome connecting to . . . . two-null case. p “ p¨ œ t “ H œ q “ p p p ˜ œ ˜¨ “ ˜ t œ ˜H “ ˜ q œ ˜s “ œ ˜ s “¨ ˜ 1 “ ˜s “ p¥ “ p q “ ˜s “ p “ ˜¨ “ p t “ ˜H “ pt œ “¨ t “ ¨ œ “ p p p œ ˜ œ ˜ s “ ˜ s “¨ ˜ 1 “ p¥ “ p œ t “¨ t “ p œ ˜ q œ ˜ s “ ˜ s “¨ ˜ 1 “ œ t “¨ t “ H œ q “ p p p p and and and and and ˜1 “ p p ˜¨ “ p t “ ˜H “ p q “ ˜s “ t “ † C p & 7& 7A C “ ˜ Š† & & 7 7A p d C & 7A  œ ˜ s “¨ œ t “¨ p A A s œ ˜ œ p¨ ˜t œ p H œ ˜q œ œ  7A 7A and and ûúXd ˜ú ˜ C & –  ûú˜ ˜ý C 7 & 7  C¤ &  ûú˜ ˜ý C 7 & C ûúXd & ˜ú ˜ –A Fan description 61 “weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 61     . and Wall connecting to . and Wall connecting to . . . . . and Part-dome connecting to . . . .

are (effectively) mirror images of and . no separator connected the coronal nulls. they simply do so in some cases twice above the plane. respectively. now.4. a total of four coronal separators. and of the photospheric nulls below them. Does this spell the end of our cherished zero-surface method for finding nulls? Not in the least. and . Qualitatively. Meanwhile. The -zero lines still cross the -zero surfaces. The changes in connectivity engendered by the bifurcations are shown in Figure 3. are in terms of connectivity (there is now flux connecting to ) and in terms of separators.20. of which there are now eleven.5.5. in their place. though.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 62 62 is now bounded by the spine of is now bounded by the spine of . The spines and separatrices of these nulls. The six coronal nulls are linked by a loop of separators. we must follow the zero lines from each photospheric null to a source.19 shows the zero-surfaces in the source plane for cases with two and with six nulls.         ˜ œ p œ ˜ ¨ “¨ œ “¨ ~ ü œ ˜ s “¨ œ ˜ ¨ “¨ p p œ “¨ ˜ œ œ “¨ p¨ p œ t “¨ œ œ ˜ ¨ “¨ † œ ˜ ¨ “¨ œ ˜ “¨ ˜ œ œ ˜ H “¨ p t “ p¨ o n p ˜ œ œ t “¨ œ p¥ “ ˜s “ p œ q “¨ ˜1 “ p¨ d œ pt œ ˜ s “¨ p¨ œ “¨ œ         . to form a wall. and are connected to and (respectively) by new separators.5. the separator that connected to has vanished. creating two more coronal nulls. noting if and where the sign of changes. and are no longer linked by magnetic flux. although the number of nulls is patently different.5. This new configuration is summarised in Table 3.1 Six coronal nulls Increasing still further allows a second bifurcation to take place. giving a total of twelve separators. as shown in Figure 3. and each photospheric null is linked to exactly one coronal null. the two are identical.23. there is a separator ring connecting to to to and back to . 3. To find all coronal nulls. The topology is summarised in Table 3. as have those connecting to and to . Previously. Figure 3. but The most significant changes.5 and depicted in Figure 3.5 In this topology. that of remains a wall.

5. right.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 63 63 CN6+ CN3− S0+ S6+ N6− S3− N3+ N2− S1− N1+ S2+ CN3− CN4+ CN6+ CN5− N6− N3+ S3− N4− S0+ S5− S6+ N5+ S4+ a view from the right. four null state.   Figure 3. view from the left with the two new nulls.16: Seven source.               . Left.

. and Part-dome (torus) connecting to . Position Spine connections and Wall connecting to . . . . . . p¥ “ p and and and and and and and and and Fan description and s œ p “ p œ “¨ p ¥ “ t “¨ t “ H œ q “ œ p p p p Table 3. .4: Separatrix details for seven-source. and Wall connecting to . four-null case. . . and Wall connecting to . ˜1 “ p ˜1 “ p p ˜¨ “ p t “ ˜H “ p q “ ˜s “ t “ “ “ C † C s & 7& 7A †& & 7 7A p † C ¨ & 7& 7A † C t & 7& 7A p d C & 7A  œ ˜ s “¨ œ “¨ œ ˜ ¨ “¨ œ t “¨ p A A s œ ˜ œ p¨ ˜t œ p H œ ˜q œ œ  7A 7A ûúXd ûú˜ ˜ C & –  ûú˜ ˜ý C 7 & 7  C¤ &  ûú˜ ˜ý C 7 & C ûúXd & ûú˜ ˜ –A 64     “weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 64 .        p œ ˜ ¨ “¨ p ˜1 “ . and Wall connecting to . . . and Part-dome connecting to . . . . . and Wall connecting to . . . . . and œ ˜ ¨ “ ˜ œ ˜ s “ ˜ s “¨ ˜ 1 “ ˜s “ p¥ “ ˜¨ “ p¥ “ p q “ ˜s “ p “ ˜¨ “ p t “ ˜H “ œ t “¨ œ p ¥ “ p “¨ p “ p ¨ œ p t “ œ œ ˜ ¨ “¨ ˜ ¨ “ ˜ t œ ˜ H “ ˜ q œ ˜ s “ ˜ s “¨ ˜s “ œ ˜ s “¨ ˜ 1 “ œ “¨ p “ p¥ “ p ˜¨ “ œ ˜ ¨ “¨ ˜ 1 “ œ t “¨ t “ p p¥ “ p ˜H “ œ ˜ q œ ˜ s “ ˜ s “¨ ˜ 1 “ œ t “¨ t “ p p H œ q “ p     Null Approx. and Dome connecting to . and Part-dome (torus) connecting to . . Wall (bottle) connecting to . .

5.                 . right. six null state. view from the left. a view from the right with two new nulls.17: Seven source. Left.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 65 65 CN6+ CN2+ CN3− CN1− N6− S6+ S0+ S1− S3− N2− N3+ N1+ S2+ CN3− CN4+ CN6+ CN5− N6− N3+ S3− N4− S0+ S5− S6+ N5+ S4+ Figure 3.

. . . . . . . six-null case “ p œ “¨ p ¥ “ q “¨ q “ œ p p œ ˜ ¨ “ ˜ œ ˜ s “ ˜ s “¨ ˜ 1 “ p œ “¨ p “ p¨ œ t “ p ˜s “ p¥ “ ˜¨ “ p¥ “ ˜H “ p¥ “ p q “ ˜s “ p “ ˜¨ “ pt “ p¥ “ p¥ “ p ˜¨ “ œ ˜ ¨ “¨ ˜ 1 “ œ t “¨ t “ p p¥ “ p ˜H “ œ ˜ H “¨ ˜ 1 “ œ q “¨ q “ p Spine connections and Wall connecting to . and Wall connecting to . . and Wall connecting to . and Wall connecting to . . . . . . and Part-dome (torus) connecting to . and Wall (bottle) connecting to .        p s œ p œ ˜ ¨ “¨ p œ t “¨ ˜H “ p q “ ˜s “ œ œ ˜ H “¨ ˜ 1 “ ˜ ¨ “¨ ˜ ¨ “ ˜ t œ p q œ“¨ p ¥ “ t “¨ t “ H œ œ p p p œ œ ˜ s “¨ ˜ 1 “ ˜ H “¨ ˜ H “ ˜ q œ ˜s “ œ ˜ s “¨ ˜ 1 “ œ “¨ p “     Null Approx. . . and p¥ “ p ˜H “ and and and and and and and ˜1 “ p ˜1 “ p t “ ˜1 “ p p ˜¨ “ p t “ ˜H “ p q “ ˜s “ q “ “ “ C † C s & 7& 7A †& & 7 7A p † C ¨ & 7& 7A † C t & 7& 7A p † C H & 7& 7A † Cq & 7& 7A p d C & 7A  œ ˜ s “¨ œ “¨ œ ˜ ¨ “¨ œ t “¨ œ ˜ H “¨ œ q “¨ p A A s œ ˜ œ p¨ ˜t œ p H œ ˜q œ œ and and and and  7A 7A ûúXd ûú˜ ˜ C & –  ûú˜ ˜ý C 7 & 7  C¤ &  ûú˜ ˜ý C 7 & C ûúXd & ûú˜ ˜ –A Fan description 66 “weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 66     . and Part-dome (torus) connecting to . . and Wall connecting to . . and Wall (bottle) connecting to . and Wall connecting to . . .5: Separatrix details for seven-source. and Part-dome (torus) connecting to . and Dome connecting to . Position Table 3. .

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3.5.2 Bifurcation behaviour
The first seven-source local coronal bifurcation behaviour (between the two-null and fournull case) is, in some ways, similar to its five-source counterpart - it creates two nulls connected by a separator and allows previously enclosed flux from to connect to . However, it is qualitatively different. Where the five-source bifurcation results from the pinching together of four separators, in this case, only three separators are originally involved. There is an added peculiarity in that a separator connecting the two original coronal nulls is created - a global twist to a local bifurcation. This is depicted in Figures 3.5.18 and 3.5.21. The second bifurcation, converting a four-null state into a six-null state, appears topologically identical to the five-source bifurcation, as shown in Figure 3.5.22.

3.6 Discussion
In this chapter, we have found and examined surprising examples of local bifurcations taking place above the source plane. The first of these allowed a five-source configuration to switch between having two nulls and having none; the second changed a seven-source setup with two nulls into one with four nulls and thence into one with six nulls. These particular configurations are particularly important ones to analyse since they have the form of -spots, prolific producers of flares. While our analysis remains, for the moment, potential, we expect the topologies produced in a sheared scenario to be little (if any) different. That said, a potential field is insufficient to model magnetic breakout; the breakout, is due to shearing around a photospheric neutral line (or surface) rather than a simple increase of flux in the central source. Moreover, our form of increase - implicitly, the distant balancing source grows with the - is pretty unrealistic. However, we can lay foundations for the application of the seven-source bifurcations to the Magnetic Breakout Model, considered in the following chapter. We conjecture that the topological changes produced by shearing the field near a neutral line in a -spot


    p¥ “ 

˜1 “



~ ü

˜1 “ 


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Figure 3.5.18: Behaviour for first coronal bifurcation, between two coronal nulls and four. The
initial configuration is similar to the five source case (Figure 3.3.12), except that only three separators are present (top left). As before, the fan surfaces buckle in (top right) and form a second-order null (bottom left) which splits into two new nulls (bottom right). The peculiar global behaviour is not shown.




“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 69


Figure 3.5.19: Zero surfaces in the plane for seven-source cases. Left, a two-null case and right, a
six-null case. There are no qualitative differences in the plane.



¹ # » …°

® ˆ#

® #

Figure 3.5.20: Detail of seven-source zero-surfaces at

(left), (centre) and (right). The zero line (where the dotted and dashed lines cross) is outside the -zero surface (solid line) at but outside at ; it crosses the boundary near .


  » X° ¹ à B# ® ¿ …° ¹ ¿ ¹ |º X° ® ˆ# à Á# ® ¿ X° ¹ ¿ ¹ |º X° ® #  


these become five in the same way as the five-source coronal bifurcation. There are originally four separators involved. 6 1 6 1 6 1 0 2 0 2 0 2 5 inf 5 inf 5 inf 4 3 4 3 4 3 Figure 3. these become five in the same way as the five-source coronal bifurcation.5.5. 1 2 1 2 C1 C2 C3 C6 C3 C6 Figure 3.5.22: Separator changes for second seven-source bifurcation. Additionally. There are originally three separators involved.23: Connectivity graph for seven-source bifurcations                 .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 70 70 C3 C6 C3 C6 C5 C4 5 4 5 4 Figure 3.21: Separator changes for first seven-source bifurcation. a sixth separator is created between the two original coronal nulls.

is lies between the positive source and the nearest photospheric null (all of which lie approximately on the network boundaries). The -zero surface must lie between the positive source and the each negative source .         † † o n         . in the medium term. this is the only such curve that can cross the -zero surface.in fact. We also develop the method of Molodenskii and Syrovatskii (1977) for finding coronal nulls using zero surfaces. even if produced by a different means. Since there is only one -zero curve emanating from the central source. This process in fact explains why Inverarity and Priest (1999) were unable to find any more than one coronal null with their configurations of a single positive source surrounded by negative sources on a hexagonal network.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 71 71 are similar to the changes produced by the seven-source bifurcations. We plan. and hence there is only one coronal null. to develop simulations to test this hypothesis.

We construct a simple topological representation of a deltasunspot region and show that magnetic breakout can be achieved by way of topological bifurcations in the corona. the coronal local separator bifurcation. We also find a new bifurcation. 959-60 4. 72                 . allowing the release of magnetic energy. in which two new null points are created well above the source plane. And with his strong course opens them again.1 Abstract The Magnetic Breakout Model describes how the application of shear to a neutral line in a delta-sunspot can cause low-lying field to ‘break out’ through an overlying coronal arcade.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 72 Chapter 4 The Magnetic Breakout Model But through the flood-gates breaks the silver rain. It has been suggested as a process which could trigger an eruptive flare. William Shakespeare. Venus and Adonis.

In this model. coronal null points ( ) and sources : (4.2 Introduction 4. we will model a delta sunspot region using MCT and find that adjusting certain parameters can effect just such a breakout. The Magnetic Breakout Model was proposed by Antiochos et al. 4. This is shown in Figure 4. photospheric null points ( ). positive source (the parasitic spot) is surrounded by a ring of negative sources (the parent spot). corresponding to the partner sunspot of the parent and consisting of two sources.13) adapted from Longcope and Klapper (2002) connecting the number of photospheric flux domains ( ). this reconnection reduces the amount of magnetic flux restraining the low-lying field. (2000) as a mechanism for the initiation of a coronal mass ejection (CME). shear is applied to initially low-lying field which lies beneath an unsheared coronal arcade. coronal flux domains ( ).2 Our model We model a delta sunspot in MCT in the following way: a central.1. (1999) and developed by Aulanier et al.2. Crucially. We perform three MCT experiments.1 Delta sunspots and magnetic breakout A delta sunspot is defined as two opposite-polarity sunspot umbrae sharing a common penumbra. separators ( ).2. The shear causes the low-lying field to rise. and the overlying arcade to reconnect with other flux systems. We make particular use of an equation (Equation 1. and eventually weakens it to the extent that the low-lying field can ‘break out’ and connect to distant flux systems. Antiochos (1998) found that delta sunspots are the simplest configurations with sufficient complexity to allow a magnetic breakout to occur. Flanking this is a second positive region. It is well-known that such configurations are prolific producers of flares.3.2. In this chapter. This is shown in Figure 4.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 73 73 4. In the first.2.1) as described in Section 1.2. the strength of the central source is         h …h œ “ Ÿ œ Ÿ • & “  hŸ œ –  hž œ ž œ  h …h œ – ž • ¨ Ÿ œ – — ž œ         .

2: Initial source configuration. The stars represent sources and the solid lines contours     # 10 of zero vertical flux at a small height above the photosphere.2. P5 N1 P0 N2 N3 P4 Figure 4. represented by the dashed line.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 74 74 N2 P_in N3 P_out N2 P_in N3 P_out Figure 4.2. (2000).     Ã  ) ('&$ %         . which forced it to rise and ‘break out’ explosively through the overlying field. The flux near the neutral line between and is subjected to shear. after Aulanier et al.1: Representation of magnetic breakout.

We then discuss the nature of the bifurcations involved before we conclude with a discussion of these results. while increasing reproduces the change in helicity such shearing causes. However. in which the field near the polarity inversion line around the parasitic spot is sheared.         € d d  ûú˜ – ûú˜  – d  d ûúXd W ˜ C 7 & & – ¤  ¤ A C 7 & ¤ & 7 A ûú˜ W C 7 & 7  & – ¤  A úû˜ W C 7& 7 & – ¤  A d C 7& & 7A & C 7 ´o  & ŠA n d d – d œ ¢ 2 2 ¤ œ ú 7 2 ý ud ˜ œ ¨ d ˜ ¤ ud € ¨ d         .1: Initial positions and strengths of sources. a coronal null can exist. 4. we find the bifurcations due to changing the force-free field parameter . but it has no relevance to our breakout model. In the following section.3 Results 4. increasing the source strength mimicks the rising of the field. increased and the changes in topology tracked. For lower values of .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 75 75 Source Position Strength Table 4.3. we change the location of certain sources. Of course. The second experiment is similar. except that instead of increasing the central source strength. we vary the strength of the central source. located near the origin. we analyse the changes in the magnetic skeleton brought about by altering these parameters. between and . none of these experiments represent the true behaviour of a flaring delta sunspot.1 Source strength experiment In this experiment. lastly.

Full captions overleaf.3.3: Topologies for (top). (middle) and     8 ¹ 1» |¶ 8 ¹ 5 ¼  ¹ 9» |¶ 755 1 I¶  ¹ 5 3 ¹ 1 I¶ 6¼ 4 |¶         .     ¼ ©5 Figure 4.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 76 76 P4 N1 A1 A5 P0 N2 A3 B2 N3 B4 P5 A6 B7 P4 N1 A1 A5 P0 N2 A3 N3 B4 P5 A6 B7 P4 N1 A1 A5 A3 B2 N3 B4 P5 (bottom).

        C Eþ à à þ þ C Eþ C Dþ º º þ Ãþ þ à Sþ » ¶ B B à Sþ » º ° B $ þ ° à Sþ $  B þ º Eþ C ¶ B º ¶  ¹ 5 3 ¹ 1 I¶ A¼ @ |¶ ¿ I¶ ¹ þ ¿ B ® ¤¼ » B  B ¿ B B »B »  B ¶ B B ¿  B CDþ B » B à þ ¿ ¿  B B B C Eþ º  B B ¶ B B » ¶ B à Sþ þ ¿ C Eþ à þ  B  B CDþ  B » B         . it forms a dome enclosing the flux from central source . to and to . and are unchanged. There are six separators. The fan of is now bounded only by the spine of . Bottom: Topology after spine-fan bifurcation. The spine of coronal null now connects to the balancing source. The fan of new null forms a dome bounded by the spines of . The fan of runs along the spines of and .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 77 77 Figure 4.3. in combination with the fan of (which is bounded by the fans of and ). The fan of no longer forms a dome. The fan of forms an outer dome following the spine of . The fan of is a dome which follows the spines of and . The fans of . .3: Top: Initial topology for . finally. The fans of and are unchanged. Finally. Centre: Topology after coronal local bifurcation. Separators (dashed lines) connect to . It is bounded by the spines of and . to . The fans of and remain bounded in part by the spine of and now connect to the balancing source. the fan of forms a wall running along the spines of and . their spines represented by thick lines. and . Two new nulls ( and ) appear. the fan of is bounded by the spines of and . The fan of is bounded by the spines of and . Five null points (dots) exist. The fan of forms a dome following the spine of null . and connects to . that of is now bounded above by the spine of .

with four independent circuits. this is in turn contained by an outer dome comprising the fan of the null .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 78 78 N1 P5 N1 P5 N1 P5 P0 Ninf P0 Ninf P0 Ninf N2 N3 P4 N2 N3 P4 N2 N3 P4 Figure 4. one of either sign. The local bifurcation does not change the domain graph. and ten flux domains (of which none are coronal) exist. which forms an inner dome. This adds a new gv theflux domain and a new circuit into our reckoning. and the domains in Figure reffig:mbo:domains.2: Numbers of coronal domains. are created well above the source plane. Flux from the central source is prevented from connecting to the balancing source by the fan of null . comprising three negative and two positive nulls.4: Connectivity graphs initially (left). The number of domains. There are four separators connecting these.3. respectively. However. although the coronal topology does change significantly. The inner dome now con-         d P¤ ! Xd I ˜ ˜ ¤ ! ud ‘ d PH¤ Xd I ¤ ˜ ˜ ¤ ˜ H¤ Xd ‘ d f ¤ ud ú c F G) ° $ 7 2 ©`U ' W 1" ' EY 9' 1G® §X1©VTD) )à Q ) ' ) à RW ) à U RQ ® ' E) Q ® © ® RQ GSE) º ° ½¶ ¿ – Ÿ œ ü Ÿ h Dœ h …h œ ˜ ¤ ˜ H¤ Xd f d ‘ ¤ Xd ¤ ˜ H¤ Xd T d a bœ         .4. the global spine-fan bifurcation allows flux to connect to . Range Purely coronal domains ( ) Separators ( ) Coronal null points ( ) 0 4 0 0 6 2 1 7 2 Table 4. There are initially ten flux domains.3. sources and null points in the photosphere remain constant at .3. separators and coronal null points for different stages of our model. Now six separators connect the seven nulls.1: . The configurations for all three For states are shown in Figure 4. a local bifurcation occurs. the topology has no coronal nulls. after a coronal local separator bifurcation (middle) and after a global spine-fan bifurcation (right). although the domain graph is unchanged. Two null points. . The bifurcation is analysed in some detail in Section 4. At . although the outer dome remains intact. this bifurcation is a necessary step towards a breakout. however. There are five photospheric null points. All three situations satisfy Equation 4. and . The photospheric arrangement of spines and fans remains unchanged.

    ! c d fü – ¢ ü ü – d ˜ ¤ ! Xd T d ú c ¢ œ 2  C po & pn A         . The topology is that shown in the centre of Figure 4. which meet at the spine of .3. before the bifurcation. a large distance away. three bifurcations take place. We choose to examine the effects of moving the source ‘north-west’ (that is to say. 4. it is connected to the balancing source . One of the spine field lines of the negative coronal null ( ) changes its connectivity. Firstly. one of which is coronal. the spine of and the fan of undergo a spine-fan bifurcation. the line of bifurcation is plotted in Figure 4. Equation 4. we will analyse the topological behaviour caused by moving the other outer positive source .3.1 remains true. Equation 4.3. there are seven separators and eleven flux domains. in the direction). as shown in Table 4.3. Moving . In this case. we begin with a configuration identical to the previous subsection. The new flux domain connects the central source to balancing source . Many different directions also give the same bifurcation.2. although with similar overall results.the flux originally constrained by two domes has ‘broken out’ to connect to distant flux systems.3 along a line through and . before the spine of and the fan of do the same thing.3. a global spine-fan bifurcation occurs. though. except that is fixed at a value of .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 79 79 At . This leaves the topology effectively a reflection of that in the centre of Figure 4.2 Source location experiment In this experiment. .5. it connects to source . afterwards.2. has a somewhat different effect. in various directions to try to recreate the spineWe will begin by moving the source fan bifurcation found in the previous subsection. continuing to move in the same direction allows and to bifurcate as before. Secondly. We find that moving the source in the negative -direction causes the same spine-fan bifurcation at approximately .1 remains valid.     ú c d c ú c ! c a gœ a bœ ¢ 2 d c ú c 7 2 n ! c ! ¢ c 2 C ú ú ud & iý ud ˜ h ˜ A ûúXd ˜ 2 ú 2 d eü sists of the fans of and as shown in Table 4. Instead of the spine of bifurcating with the spine of immediately.

occur in the source plane. to the     ¿ º ¿ » ú |d ˜ b€ – 7 q € ! ˜ ud ¨ à  ) d ú ! c  c d ý 7 ˜ 7 r€ q €         . is a large value for to take. If instead we increase .4 Bifurcation analysis Until recently. it connects to source . 4. in which one null in the source plane becomes three. it was tacitly assumed that all local bifurcations . This. We find that decreasing results in three spine-fan bifurcations. clearly does not take place in the source plane. which we will call the coronal local separator bifurcation. Coronal nulls in particular were thought to owe their existence to the local double-separator (or pitchfork) bifurcation (Brown and Priest. in an identical sequence to moving .5: Bifurcation diagram for spine-fan bifurcation between and .3. The local bifurcation found at .3 Force-free field experiment In this experiment. we find that a single spine-fan bifurcation between and takes place when . with the final bifurcation occurring at . In particular. we fix and the source positions.3. however. $ B B Figure 4. and the region of validity for the force-free approximation becomes small. however.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 80 80 3 2 1 0 N2 −1 −1 0 N1 P0 N3 1 2 4. this is a three-separatrix variety.ones in which null points are created or destroyed . a similar (although     € € ¢ 2 ¤ ˜ H¤ Xd T d B is placed to the left of the line. This is a new type of bifurcation. the spine of right. 2001). If source connects to the balancing source at infinity. while changing the parameter of a linear force-free field.

The fans are now bounded by the spine of the new negative null . the three separators originally involved become four. 4. At this point. and flux can connect these two sources. and altering the force-free field parameter all lead to a global spine-fan bifurcation allowing flux to connect the         ! ü ¢ ü d 7c – ! ü ü ¤ c 7 2 a gœ 7 2 7 2 ¤ c ú c d 6c d 7c d 6c d 7c ú c ¤ c ! ü € ! ü         . It is. with its upper part replaced by the fan of . that of . the global spine-fan bifurcation that allows the breakout to take place.the spine of . moving flux sources.6. as discussed in the previous chapter. This bifurcation was studied by Brown and Priest (1999a). the spine of one passes through the fan of the other. In addition.5 Discussion In this chapter. the fan of connects to the central source . negative nulls and ).4. and no longer forms a dome enclosing all of the central flux. Two fan surfaces (from and ) buckle together and eventually meet. which subsequently splits into two new coronal nulls. In this way. This connection is the topological analogue to breakout. The bifurcation process is depicted in Figure 4. changing the connectivity of both. we have shown that a simple model of a delta sunspot region can be made to display behaviour topologically similar to the breakout model proposed by Antiochos et al. It is worth stressing that the dome enclosing the central flux (from ) now consists of two separatrices (from and ). In particular. It involves two null points of the same sign (in this case. which are both bounded by . Increasing the flux of the parasitic spot.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 81 81 more complex) bifurcation is possible involving four separatrices. their lower parts are replaced by the fan of the new positive null . The other fan involved. which previously combined to form a dome. In this way. however. the separatrices of and . there is no longer a barrier separating and . a second-order null point is formed. (1999). are opened up by the connection of ’s spine to infinity.and inextricably linked to . is now bounded by the spine of .

        ¿ $ º B º C s$ þ ¿ B  B » B F G) ¿ B » B º B Ã  ) º ° þ $         . additionally. negative null . to . the spine lies in the fan plane.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 82 82 B2 B2 B4 B4 A3 A3 D B2 B4 A7 B6 A3 Null A7 Null B6 Figure 4.4. Where there were originally three separators. After bifurcation.4. the original buckled fans and the fan of the new positive null by the spine of the new. the spine of connects to the balancing source and the fan of connects. The fans of and are both bounded by the spine of . there are now four. Two fan surfaces buckle together (top right) before joining together in a second-order null point. The two approach each other until at the point of bifurcation. Ninf A5 Ninf A5 N2 N2 P5 A7 P4 P0 P4 A7 P5 P0 Figure 4. This splits into two are now bounded first-order nulls.6: Bifurcation behaviour for coronal local separator bifurcation. the spine of the lower null ( ) connects to the right ( ). Initially. while the fan of the upper null ( ) connects to the left (to and ).7: Global separator bifurcation.

dramatic breakout. coronal local separator bifurcation.2. This model also ignores the energetics of the situation. these steps will hopefully lead to new insights into some of the processes involved in dynamic coronal magnetic events. it seems likely. important to recognise the limitations of our model. and its spine the more vertical ones) while the thick dashed lines are the separatrix surface of photospheric null . a potential field is incapable of storing magnetic energy to be released in an explosive event. however. so it is impossible at this stage to state that this is the mechanism which allows a rapid. We have also detailed a new. In particular. In time. that more realistic models would behave similarly. In the future. This model provides a step towards a more complete topological understanding of the magnetic breakout model. It is clear to see that the thick solid lines represent the skeleton of the lower coronal null (its fan comprising the more horizontal lines. Our depiction of a delta spot as a small number of point sources is a rather crude one. It is worth re-examining Figure 4.1 in this new.         d 6c ú c         . It appears to be a critical stage towards magnetic breakout. though. we plan to analyse MDI data from a flaring active regions in a similar way. topological light.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 83 83 parasitic spot to distant flux systems. This bifurcation allows two null points to be created or destroyed well above the photosphere. It is.

The Death of Jim Loney. while their spines are analogous to 84         7 u7 – sq 7 d         . We find that each source is connected to twenty other sources. He wondered if it always sought the lowest ground. why it wandered with such feckless purpose. or was his mind such a shambles that he assumed there was a reason behind its constant shifting? James Welch. which tend to be clustered together in trunk-like structures. Loney always wondered how that river knew where to bend. on average. An elemental flux loop consists of all of the flux joining one such source to another. Prone nulls correspond to saddle points. analogous to river-valleys in a geographical contour map. intense patches of magnetic flux. We also model a typical largescale coronal loop consisting of many elemental loops and determine its complex internal topology. the loops and bends as gracefully etched in the winter cover as a blue racer snake frozen in the grass. Abstract The photosphere possesses many small. and that the typical flux and diameter of elemental loops in the corona are Mx and km.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 84 Chapter 5 Elemental Flux Loops Loney was watching the river in his mind. there are approximately 17 separators for each source. Each of these patches (or sources) is connected magnetically through the corona to several sources of opposite polarity. Each upright null lies at the end of about 22 separatrices.

from which the number of prone nulls can be calculated.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 85 85 watersheds. 1978). we examine the topology of a source plane containing a large number of point sources. These have a tendency to be clustered closely together. An elemental flux loop can then be defined as comprising all the field lines anchored to a given pair of source elements. and how it varies with the distribution of flux and fraction of flux with a particular sign. we find an approximation for the number of upright nulls in each case. 2003). In the second part. 5. Each unipolar area consists of a large number of elemental sources. it is important to find in particular the density and distribution of separators. Galsgaard and Nordlund.. We model a large-scale coronal loop (a super-loop) anchored in unipolar areas of an active region..1 Introduction Since magnetic loops are the fundamental building blocks of the corona (Rosner et al. In the first part of our analysis. Longcope.         T u vq 7 d Çt         . we identify the pattern of interconnections between such sources. Following Longcope and van Ballegooijen (2002). 1994). Galsgaard et al. Our aim here is to develop a model for elemental flux loops. Coronal loops may be observed in soft x-rays and in EUV. 1997. 2000) contributes to coronal heating. it is natural to seek to determine their nature. 1996. including their size distribution and topology. Their size and discrete nature have been attributed to their being anchored in small-scale photospheric elements (Litwin and Rosner. 1996. We find a large number of magnetic separators within the super-loop (roughly 17 for each source of a given polarity). 1993). from which we might understand their magnetic properties.. with flux Mx (Stenflo. This work has been accepted by Solar Physics (Beveridge et al. we examine the number and distribution of separators when a strictly positive region is connected to a strictly negative region. A key question then is: How many photospheric elements of opposite polarity are interconnected through the corona? Since it is possible that separator reconnection (Priest and Titov. In particular.

twenty opposing sources.. Priest et al. its separators and elemental coronal loops. At each end is a boundary representing a section of the photosphere and containing small. (2002). In our analysis. which includes a determination of the proportion of upright nulls due to a given source configuration.4 examines our results on separators and with the loops themselves.2. as depicted in Figure 5.. Each calculation in the two experiments is performed by a Monte Carlo method using numerous realisations of source distributions. 2000. The result is a magnetic carpet layer below the merging height (Schrijver et al. discrete flux sources. The second examines how this topology relates to the coronal field. 5. we deduce that each source is connected to. corresponding to a diameter of around 200 km in a coronal field of typical strength.2.. One end represents the positive polarity of an active region and the majority of its photospheric sources are positive. we treat it as approximately straight. A single realisation consists of 1000 sources whose positions are randomly generated to produce a planar Poisson point process of unit mean density within a disc centred at the origin (Kendall and Moran.3 we discuss the topology of the source plane. 1997. In Section 5. 2002). in Section 5. Longcope et al.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 86 86 Finally. We conclude in Section 5. Parnell. we do not restrict ourselves to strictly unipolar source planes. We perform two numerical experiments. Section 5. on average. The mean separation of two sources is:           A ‚C  '  ¥ € 1 ¨ y n  q d †xt T w s 7         . 2003). this leads immediately to the conclusion that an average elemental loop will have a flux . 1963. we assume the distance between these sources is large enough in comparison to their size that we can treat them as point sources. Unlike Longcope and van Ballegooijen. detailed below: the first examines the topology of the magnetic field within the source plane.1: the loop length is much greater than its radius.2 Model Following Longcope and van Ballegooijen (2002). A similar estimate is obtained by Priest et al. we consider a magnetic super-loop with a large aspect ratio geometry.5 with a discussion of our results. we outline our model. and for simplicity.

Under these assumptions. the topology of the coronal field is determined entirely by the topology of the field at each merging layer. however. In one type all magnitudes are equal.. so it maps the field lines without changing their topology). by making two different assumptions about the source magnitudes. A unipolar region interspersed with opposing flux elements will contain a magnetic carpet within which their field lines close. vary with flux imbalance . The second of our experiments will apply the topology of the photospheric field to the corona. we need only consider cases with The first series of experiments characterises the magnetic field in the source plane. Larger magnetic elements. We consider these two cases in recognition of the fact that the true size distribution of fundamental flux elements is unknown. we determine how the density of both types of photospheric null point. show an exponential distribution of fluxes whose mean is Mx. while in the other type the magnitudes are drawn randomly from an exponential distribution.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 87 87 where the point distribution function for unit density is: and represents the distance between nearest neighbours in units of length such that the mean density . upright and prone. such as those found in the quiet Sun (Schrijver et al. We therefore restrict our consideration to the case and furthermore assume that the coronal field is unstressed. and therefore maps between merging heights without distortion. Since the topological properties of a magnetic field do not depend on sign. 1997). In the model of Longcope and van Ballegooijen. To clarify this. rather than at the photosphere (the coronal field is by definition unidirectional. This results in: . The only cases where we can approximate the merging layer topology by the photospheric topology are those without a magnetic carpet ( and ). The remaining field maps through the carpet to the merging layer (and thereafter through the corona to a region of opposing polarity). The signs of the flux elements within a plane are chosen to produce a region with a prescribed level of flux imbalance. In the positive end of the cylinder while in the negative end . composed of numerous fundamental elements of typical size Mx. Each of these elements is. separators occur along lines parallel to the         7 ¨ ‘ ‚q 7 d q t ’ d ˜ú 7 ¨ ‘ G’ ’ ’ & H‡p „ „– ‰ˆ† … ƒ ˜ú 7 ¨ ¨  C A  y ’ ûú˜ 7 ‡ —’ d 7 ˜ ud ¨ u ‚q 7 d ’ I “‘ ûú˜ 7 œ d ¨ ’          . by making a fraction of the sources positive. We perform two types of calculation.

10). we find the densities of prone and upright nulls as functions of flux imbalance and the nature of source magnitudes.1. we determine the number of prone nulls from the Euler characteristic equation (Equation 1. We then use a Newton solver to find the nulls near such extrema . the fraction of positively signed flux . it is easy to find all of the extrema reliably.corresponds to an extremum in the source plane of the field’s scalar potential.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 88 88 cylinder’s axis. A prone null. using a sufficiently fine grid. These coincide with the intersections of separatrix curves when the two photospheric layers are superposed. We determine the number of upright nulls by finding all the extrema of the potential. From this information. Each critical point of the field .and lastly we ensure that each of the nulls is indeed an upright null by examining the alignment of its spine field line. We do this using two gradient masks. the strength distribution (uniform strengths or exponentially distributed) and secondly.this also removes from our list of nulls any maxima or minima corresponding to sources . We average the number of upright nulls over the 1000 experiments. while the other does so with the lowest value. one of which associates with each point in a grid the co-ordinates of the adjacent point with the highest value.3.0 in steps of 0. a negative upright null or source corresponds to a minimum. A positive source or upright null corresponds to a maximum of the potential. 5. The results are given in Table 5.3 Topology of the source plane In this section. which we examine for between 0.5 and 1. from these.1 and Figure 5.each source and null point . repeating the experiment 1000 times for each set of parameters: firstly. the flux ( ) and the number of sources ( ):         ’ “ – •” —¨ 1 T&p ’ …  7˜ ’ ¢ ’¨ • 3• • E• ’         . corresponds to a saddle point irrespective of its sign. We do this by performing Monte Carlo simulations of the source planes. We find the following relationship between the number of upright nulls ( ). meanwhile.

we deduce the density of prone nulls to . we find the density and distribution of separators in a super-loop and from this calculate the average value for the size of an elemental loop. and we expect the topology at the merging height to be quite similar to that at the photosphere: we expect trunks to form at the merging height. Since we are interested only in the topology. this assumes a straight coronal field so that the mapping is a simple overlay of the two topologies. Every prone null is the origin of exactly two separatrix curves within the photosphere. In the case where . These results show that the less mixed a region. This implies that there are approximately 11 prone nulls for be every upright null. each of which must end at an upright null since there are no negative sources in the plane. This implies there is no magnetic carpet.4 Separators and flux loops In this section. we assume the merging height to have the same configuration as the photosphere. but we do not expect the mapping to preserve relative areas.     d ¨ ’ – •” —¨ 1 T&p in the uniform case and     … – ˜ ¤  ¨ • 3• d d˜ kXd ¨ ’ ¨ •  ˜ •  d d ߘ 7 7 ¨ ” ¨  •          .10).3 found that the density of upright nulls in the exponential case with is nulls per unit area.3 shows an example of the separatrix curves connecting prone to upright nulls.4. the more numerous the upright nulls. approximately in the proportion 5:4. We deduce the number of separators from the number of points where the projections of positive and negative separatrices cross. Since this density assumed a distribution of sources with unit density. 5. From the Euler characteristic (Equation 1. also the uniform distribution of source strengths produces slightly more upright nulls than the exponential distribution. Section 5. also denotes the number of upright nulls per photospheric source.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 89 89 in the exponential case. none of the field lines close back into the source region. This means that an average of about 22 separatrix field lines from surrounding prone nulls lead to each upright null. Figure 5. As mentioned previously.

The relative dimensions have been exaggerated for clarity.9 0.8 0.1: A straight flux loop.0 0. ˜ ý Id ˜ 7 7 7 7 7 d ˜ 7 ¦ 7 ¦ 7 ¦ 7 ¦ 7 ¦ 7 7 – u7 ý Xú ˜ 7 u7 ú d¢ ŠXd ˜ 7 ¤ – 7˜ ýu…ú ˜ ý 7 ýhdd u1uߘ ˜ 7 7 7 7 7 1.1: Upright null density (nulls per unit area) as a function of the fraction of positive flux .5     d Xu7 7 77 7 ¦ X7 d ˜ ý ˜ 7 u7 7 ¦ iX7 7 ¤7 ú |d ˜ ú uh ˜ 7 u7 7 ¦ X7 7 ý ¤¢ – u7 ˜ 7 ¦ Id –¢ 7 ˜ 7 ¤¢ 7 Hu7 ˜ 7 ¦ ý ! 7 ˜ h u7 ˜ 7 ý h 7 ˜ 7 ¦ ! 7 77 uX7 d ˜ 7 – X7 d d X7 ˜ 7 ú ˜ 7 – X7 ý ¤7 iX7 ˜ ú Xú ˜ 7 X7 •  7 ¦ h d e d igf6™ 7 ’ l         .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 90 90 h chromosphere L corona h chromosphere a merging height positive photosphere conducting shell merging height negative photosphere Figure 5. uniform exponential     k Hj Table 5. after Longcope and van Ballegooijen (2002).6 0. whereas the model assumes a long.2. thin loop with a small chromosphere so that .7 0. when the source strength distribution is (left) uniform and (right) exponential.

The solid lines represent our fitted curves of the form (a) and (b) .3.     k ij Figure 5. where is the number of sources.2: Plots of the flux imbalance     © w ut sq ¹ ® k ‚À  v„rp à … xm l w ut sq p C ® k ‚À  v„r£ ¹° oSnm         .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 91 91 (a) (b) against the upright null density when the source strength distribution is (a) uniform and (b) exponential.

It can be seen that path of a trunk is analogous to a river valley.4. Also plotted are contours of the potential where . where one unit is twice the mean separation of sources. respectively).“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 92 92 Figure 5. The sources (asterisks) determine the positions of the prone and upright null points (diamonds and triangles. The spines (dashed lines) divide the plane into domains associated with a particular upright null. while the spines are analogous to watersheds. about 5 units by 4 units.         y ² ¹ °± ¹° |¿ Xƒb¿ …„¯ { y |® 6z         .3: A part of a simulated photosphere. It can be seen that the separators tend to run closely together in trunks (a prime example runs down the centre of the diagram and ends at the upright null near ). The separatrices of prone nulls (solid lines) divide the plane into domains associated with a particular source.

                . where these meet. a large number of separators occur in a tiny area. Where two trunks cross. mark separators.4. about 5 units by 4 units.4: A part of two overlaid topologies. the dotted lines those of the other. The solid lines represent the separatrices of one photosphere.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 93 93 Figure 5. The crosses.

Figure 5.5 shows this prediction against the actual results: in the lowest 70%. are marked by asterisks.         ¨ d ” ‚} ~ CH7 A  c ¨  œ ~} ” ‚Gœ d ! ¢ ¦ i! ! ý d q ¨ … ¨ – ¨ ” ‚Pœ  ~} ~} c ” ‚fœ … ¦¨ ~ } †V‚ ” ‚Pœ  ‚ œ „ ¨ ¨ ‚  ‚ ¨W c ~ HSi” ‚}  ú d ûú˜ ˜ú C 7& 7A c i ƒ œ  ‚ ~ ” ‚}  ¨ 7 d  7 d ¨ ~ HW ” ‚}  – ¢ d ¦ 7 d ¨ ¢  €         . which varies more than an order of magnitude beyond expectation. We explore the effect of clustering through a simple model in which all separators occur in clusters of size . Thus the number of separators found within area will be . the other the negative boundary. and repeat this experiment 30 times.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 94 94 It is evident from this typical view that the separatrices tend to form trunks.a clear example runs down the centre of the figure and ends at the upright null near . although at the high end of the scale we consistently find more separators than we predict. negative) boundary. which would occur at the intersection of two trunks with eleven separators each. Figure 5. These clusters are themselves distributed uniformly with density . each of which is generated as described in the previous section. A region of area will therefore contain clusters. Our results are consistent with a cluster size . The separators. the prediction matches the results very well. We next determine the locations of separators by superposing two realisations of the photospheric field. where these lines cross. where several field lines run extremely close together . many separators can form in a very small area. dashed) curves are the separatrix curves on the positive (respectively. since if one trunk crosses the projection of another. Were the points uniformly distributed so that their counts obeyed Poisson statistics. This tendency has important consequences for the density and distribution of separators (and hence for the density of elemental loops).4. Each crossing of the superposed photospheric separatrix curves is a separator. We then count the number of separators in a central subregion measuring 10 units by 10 units. One of these realisations represents the positive end of a loop. we would expect to find in our box.4.4 shows a piece of a superposition where the solid (respectively. This indicates that separators are not uniformly distributed. where is the inferred separator density. but tend to form in clusters. Instead we count . Trials will yield counts centred on this mean with Poisson deviation . This superposition represents a mapping by way of straight coronal field lines.

. However.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 95 95 Given that there are around 1. . As for the flux domains. or a null and a separator. So. a total of . ~} ” ‚ˆ• ~ ” ‚} •  2C • • ¨ ” •  A – ’  • –  ” 3• ¢ ’¨ ~} & –  ” ‚ˆ•  • • – ¨ … ` T u vq 7 d 5t  ” • – ¨ d˜ ý k9|d  • … ¨ ~ ” ‚}  sq 7 d †xt T w  • ’ where represents faces. and hence in an area with sources. on average. 1994). so vertex all photospheric nulls and separators. then. We count as a In the superposition. There are edges. two nulls. in a large area. Taking a typical coronal magnetic field strength of 10 gauss. we find an average diameter for each flux loop of around 200 km. so we have vertices.     ~ ” ‚} “ ” ‚} ~   ` ¨ ~} ” ‚‡• ¢ ý q ˜ W ˜ dd – – & — ` –  “ … ¨ ’         . connecting two separators. This is a little finer than the limit of TRACE resolution. In an approach similar to Longcope and Klapper (2002).25 arcsec. every face represents a flux domain. to the superposition of two boundaries.1 then becomes With our value of . each source Stenflo-sized elements have a flux of Mx (Stenflo. edges and vertices.1) . we find connects to about twenty opposing sources. we can ignore the 2.1 prone nulls per unit area and each prone null has exactly two separatrix field lines in the plane. we know there are separators per unit area. Edges are constituted by the parts of field lines joining vertices: that is. Equation 5. so our loops have a flux Mx. moreover. we therefore apply Euler’s theorem: (5. corresponding to 0. each separatrix surface contains an average of around separators. and similar to the estimate of     “ ¨ • 3• ¨ d “ ߘ  • 7– ˜ “ ” ‚} ~ T  SE• C ‰– A    ” 2• where is the number of domains.

5: Cumulative histogram of separator number (solid line) against prediction (dashed curve). There is very good agreement for the lowest 70%.4.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 96 96     Œ‹Š ‡m Figure 5.             . although we find more separators than predicted at higher values.

the arrangement of connections between flux sources in the solar photosphere .. both in a balanced scenario (Beveridge et al.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 97 97 Priest et al. 1999a) and a start has been made on four sources..g. the fan field lines are not equally spaced but aligned preferentially towards one of the fan eigenvectors. with a direct physical application.. It must be noted. An important aspect of studying the phenomena due to the carpet is to determine in detail the topology due to its sources. structure (e. One way to understand this is to consider the magnetic potential . at a general potential null point. and forever-changing.4. By analogy to a geographical contour map. Schrijver et al. both in the examination of small numbers of sources (for instance. Parnell. has a local maximum at each source. the potential has a saddle point. 2000. This analogy can be extended to include the spines. that due to the propensity of separators to form trunks. where Supposing all of the sources to be positive. 2001).3. and at each upright null. Yet others come together and cancel each other out. Simon et al. One explanation for the valleys could be that.is an incredibly complicated. however. We find that the separatrix surfaces in the photospheric planes have a tendency to form trunks where many separators lie close together. as can be seen in Figure 5. New sources are constantly emerging as old sources disappear. these trunks can be seen to follow valleys of the potential. Our analysis approaches the problem from a different angle. Much progress has been made. the three-source case has been completely classified (Brown and Priest. 1997. 1999b.         ˜    ¨ !           . 5. while others divide into smaller ones. At each prone null in the source plane. has a local minimum. many of these flux loops are expected to be very thin indeed and to have very little flux. It is one of the first studies to predict flux loop sizes from a theoretical standpoint..5 Conclusions The magnetic carpet . (2002). which trace the watersheds of the potential landscape. 2001)) as well as in discussion of general concepts (Longcope. 2002) and in unbalanced cases (Brown and Priest. others coalesce to form larger sources. 2001).

however.where trunks intersect. We now plan to extend this analysis of model fields to more realistic ones by extrapolating MDI data.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 98 98 We superpose two photospheric planes as an approximation to a straight super-loop.it is unlikely that tracing field lines from sources would find all of the flux loops that we do. a large number of loops and separators will occur in a small area. many questions even in this simplified model: is separator heating more or less efficient than the separatrix heating proposed in the Coronal Tectonics Model (Priest et al. and what do they represent? What happens physically when a large number of separators are clustered together in a tiny space? Does reconnection in such clusters contribute significantly to coronal heating?                 . We find that many of these loops will carry very little flux . The intersections correspond to separators. while the the spaces in the network are the elemental flux loops. 2002)? Why exactly do the trunks form. and suspect that direct methods may find fewer connections . We expect this phenomenon to be replicated at the merging height. There remain..

we have attempted to develop it a little further. an upright null state (U). While in some respects the subject is well-developed.1 Discussion Magnetic charge topology is a relatively new means of investigating the properties of the solar corona. a nested state (N). In this thesis. a separate state (S) and an enclosed state (E) are possible. when there are two sources of each sign. finding that seven topologically distinct cases exist. both in terms of our understanding of how magnetic field regions interact and in terms of physical applications for the model. In Chapter 2. 99                 . we catalogued all of the possible topologies for a balanced potential scenario with four magnetic point charges. When there are three positive and one negative sources. in others it is in its infancy.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 99 Chapter 6 Discussion and future work The last word has golden rays. M´ ret Oppenheim e 6. an intersecting state (I) and a coronal null state (CN) can exist. a detached state (D).

dealing with large numbers of point sources. results for the density of upright nulls as a function of the flux imbalance. and find an average diameter for elemental loops of around 200km. two global quasi-bifurcations (the global separatrix (GSxQB) and the global spine (GSpQB) quasi-bifurcations). In Chapter 3. by superposing two regions (each containing many sources of one polarity) we calculate characteristics of the separators that ensue. which we use to model elemental flux loops.1. by considering local bifurcations which take place above the source plane. We consider these to be the building blocks for large-scale ‘superloops’ which might represent the loop structures seen in TRACE images.                 . in configurations of mixed polarity. as developed in Chapter 4.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 100 100 CN GSxQB LDSB U LSB LSB GSxQB I GSpQB GSB GSB E GSF S N GSxQB D GSxQB Figure 6. and two local bifurcations (the local separator (LSB) and the local double-separator bifurcations (LDSB)). Chapter 5 represents something of a change of direction. These allow flux initially enclosed by overlying structures to ‘break out’ and connect to distant flux systems. we lay the foundations for a topological cartoon of the Magnetic Breakout Model.1: Interactions between topologies (circles) and bifurcations (arrows). We find.1. The field configuration can change between these by means of several bifurcations: two global bifurcations proper (the global separator (GSB) and the global spine-fan bifurcations (GSF)).1. The interactions between the topologies and bifurcations are shown in Figure 6.

the improved resolution of space-based telescopes such as TRACE allow us to examine the corona more closely and infer more accurately coronal magnetic structures. and hence separator clustering. We expect the bifurcation to resemble those outlined in Chapters 3 and 4. We plan to develop our simulations of straight loops to include dynamic and magnetic carpet effects. As for coronal heating. both of which we have touched upon in this thesis (in Chapters 3.a potential field has a simple. analytical expression from which it is easy and quick to calculate field lines. However. It has many physical disadvantages. and how the topology changes between the two. To provide realistic. will be                  . We intend to extend our potential analysis of a -spot region to include magnetic shear near the photosphere. we hope to determine the three-dimensional magnetic skeleton of a ‘breakout’ situation. (1999) were by no means the first. we may also be able to analyse the energy available for release in such a situation. 4 and 5. This insistence is based largely on ease of computing . are flares and coronal heating. trunk-like behaviour. MCT in this form is at best limited because of its insistence on potential fields. and hence to improve our models. physical models.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 101 101 6. We suspect that with even five or six sources at either end. including the fact that magnetic energy cannot be stored by a potential field.2 Future work Two of the critical areas for the development of MCT. we expect the interior structure of loops to play a significant role. respectively). We also wish to investigate what significance the close clustering of separators has. In this way. which is automatically in the lowest energy state. though. Linear force-free fields have (relatively complicated) analytical expressions. By developing a force-free model. and indeed the whole of solar physics. A suggestion for this work is to extend the Longcope and van Ballegooijen (2002) model of a dynamic super-loop to more complicated end-planes. and some thought has gone into force-free topology A topological model for flares has frequently been considered in the past: Gorbachev and Somov (1988) and Antiochos et al.

we plan to work with the Coronal Tectonics Model of Priest et al. To this end. Lastly. in analogy to geophysical plate tectonics. our understanding of the uses of MCT is constantly changing.                 . Numerical simulations so far undertaken have failed to take any topological effects into account.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 102 102 observed. and a wider understanding of their implications. In this model. A vital part of any future work is the development of more sophisticated tools for determining the topological nature of solar magnetic fields. (2002). coronal heating is effected by the movement of flux tubes against each other.

10 and 1.6.3. Flux domain: All of the field lines connecting two source regions (Section 1.11. Fan: The plane of field lines near a magnetic null diverging from or converging on the null (Section 1. Corona: In reality.2). Force-free: A field satisfying Equation 1.3).3.1). The reference given is generally to the first or fullest definition of a term in the body of the thesis. Elemental loop: A small loop. consisting of all the flux connecting two sources.4.2).3. Delta spot: A sunspot group in which a substantial amount of flux of one polarity lies withing the penumbra of the main sunspot of opposite polarity (Section 4.2). Coronal null: A null which doesn’t lie in the photosphere (Section 1.3. or 103         !C ƒ…„A € ¨ !  "( y ¨ !  )x         . Domain graph: A graph representing all of the flux domains in a given configuration of sources (Section 1. In MCT.1). the outer layer of the solar atmosphere (Chapter 1). which relate the numbers of positive and negative sources and nulls in an MCT configuration.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 103 Glossary A glossary of some terms used in this thesis.2). . Bifurcation: A topological change from one state to another (Section 1. it is represented by the half space above the photosphere (Section 1. All field lines beginning at one source and end at another form a region of connectivity (Section 1. Euler characteristic: Equations 1.4). Connectivity: The existence of flux between two source regions.2). of which superloops are made up (Section 5.

the plane in which the flux sources lie (Section 1. (Section 1. Linear force-free field: A force-free field where (Section 1. Photospheric null: A null lying in the same plane as the flux sources (Section 1.2). Null points: Locations at which the magnetic field vanishes (Section 1.         1 € ¨ C b‚A €         .4. Proper separator: A separator which lies on the boundary of four flux domains (Section 1.2). Photospheric domain: A flux domain which includes field lines lying in the photosphere (Section Magnetic Charge Topology (MCT): A technique for using point sources to construct magnetic fields (Section 1. This is a symptom of a homovertebraic null (Section 1.2).2).1). Photosphere: In reality. the thin layer of the solar atmosphere closest to the surface (Section 1.3.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 104 104 Global bifurcation: A bifurcation which changes the global structure of the field without creating or destroying a null (Section 1. Half separator: A separator which lies along the intersection of two flux domains rather than four. in MCT. Prone null: A photospheric null whose spine lies in the source plane (Section 1. Local bifurcation: A bifurcation in which a pair of nulls are created or destroyed (Section Homovertebraic null: A null with only one spine source.2). Magnetic Breakout: the opening of initially low-lying field due to shearing.3).3.2).2).3.3.2). Heterovertebraic null: A null with two spine sources. Negative null: A null in which the spine sources are positive and the fan field lines diverge from the null (Section 1. Positive null: A null in which the spine sources are negative and the fan field lines converge on the null (Section 1.3. reconnection at a null point high in the corona weakens the overlying field until the lower flux can escape explosively (Chapter 4).4. (Section 1.

2).2). Superloop: A theoretical construct representing a coronal loop.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 105 105 Purely coronal domain: A flux domain with no photospheric field lines (Section 1. Skeleton: The basic structure of a magnetic field. (Section 1.3. It connects two boundary layers. Spine sources: The sources to which the spine field lines of a null connect. Quasi-static equilibrium: The assumption that structures moving far slower than the Alfv´ n speed can be treated as stationary (Section 1.3.g.5) Separator: A field line connecting two magnetic null points. Trunk: A large number of separatrix surfaces very close together (Section 5.3.2 e Reynolds number (magnetic): The ratio of the advection term to the diffusion term in the induction equation spine field lines and separators (Section 1.2).3. Zero curve: A curve on which two magnetic components (usually to zero (Section 3.1). and the other of which contains many negative sources (Section 5. or equivalently the intersection of two separatrix surfaces (Section 1. one of which contains many positive sources. zero (Section 3. Upright null: A photospheric null whose spine is orthogonal to the source plane (Section 1. perpendicular to the fan (Section 1. dividing space into different flux domains (Section 1. See also proper and half separators.2). it works out to be (Equation 1. Separatrix: A surface made up of fan field lines.2).2).2). Spine: An isolated field line leading into or away from a null point. and ) are equal Zero surface: A surface on which one of the magnetic components (e. consisting of any null points. separatrix surfaces. ) is equal to         } ü ~ ü { ü F 1 Y b` 1 ¨ Q P         .3.

Because the red and blue fans intersect in the separator (which ends in the null). The magnetic field is given by Equation 1. Theorem 2 No stable coronal nulls exist in a three-source configuration. giving rise to a separator between the two. Consider field lines beginning a small distance from one spine (without loss of generality. One of the field lines must lie in the blue plane. Proof: Let a separator connect two nulls. Since can be reduced without limit. These field lines approach the red null and spread out close to the red fan. the red fan and blue fan must intersect. so that their fan planes intersect. let one fan (blue) be bounded by the spine of the other null (red). A similar argument can be used for the red fan and the blue spine. For the other implication. Proof: Assume an isolated coronal null exists. they are orthogonal).2). Because the red spine and red fan are non-coplanar (in the potential case. the red one). Consider field lines in the red fan plane.8: (A. the blue fan must separate these field lines into different flux domains. the blue fan must be bounded by the red spine.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 106 Appendix A: Some useful proofs Theorem 1 A separator connects two nulls if and only if the fan of one null is bounded in part by the spine of the other (Figure 6.1) 106           V  V q ke ¨ j – e & t b  fd i …„)! C A –  h          .

the -component of Equation A. This gives a simplified origin with strength . and a second source lies at the point equation for the field: (A. by assumption. we can re-scale the geometry so that one source lies at the . it follows that (A. .2) For photospheric sources. by assumption.4)     7 ‡ †  y ¨ C Ž A “„„)! d C 7& A † o C  &  p& ‡„A  n  ª  V V V ˜ t ¥  Hd t « d d  ‡ ˆ† 7  ª  V V V ˜ t ¥  Hd t « † †  †  ª U V V Vª« V ˜ t …   ¥ H d  t   q «  ¥ …  ¨ Ž  d V V ¨ d  t  C A …„)!  V V V ¨  qd t  7  † V V V ¨  qd t  7  d ¨ • with . There exists. a point where and .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 107 107 Source Fan Null Spine Figure A.3) Since. Without loss of generality.2 is given by: (A.     ¤         .2: A separator joins two nulls if and only if the fan of one is bounded by the spine of the other.

        n  ª  V V V V ¨  V « V q d  t  & t H¥   H d  t 7 o o o o  ¨ t V …   V H d ¥ 7 Ho o         . (A.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 108 108 The -component of A. and the three sources are colinear. it is topologically unstable.4.5) or. the symmetry implies that the null is not isolated.6) This means that the third source must lie on the -axis. contradicting our original assumption. In fact. Because of the symmetry of such a case. using Equation A. but forms part of a null ring.2 is given by (A.

In still others.9 near a null point . it is relatively clear where nulls ought to be and possible to make an explicit guess. nulls have been found.3. field lines calculated. without any explanation as to the methods used to do so. Many of the codes used were developed by Daniel Brown.1 Null points Null points are found using a Newton-Raphson solver. topologies depicted and bifurcation diagrams drawn.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 109 Appendix B: Details of calculations and graphics Throughout this thesis. This Appendix aims to redress that imbalance. B. As described in Section 1. 109          «         . Initial guesses are generated in several ways: in some cases. these spine and fan field lines are determined by the eigenvectors of the null matrix of Equation 1.2.2 Skeletons and field lines The skeleton of the field is found by extrapolating certain field lines from the null points. In others. B. the zero surfaces method is automated for use in the source place. a three-dimensional network is used to find these surfaces in space.

a separator field line must begin at x for some between and . If the connectivity changes between two field lines beginning at x and x .1) beginning at some initial point r . we then use the xfig package to trace. the eigenvector corresponding to this eigenvalue determines the direction of the spine. Our approximate separators are treated as single field lines and turned into splines in the same way. By gradually refining the value of . We find approximate separators by examining the connectivity of fan field lines from each null point.         q ˜e ‘ C e A 1 ‘ h 9– • 6I™d › ˜˜˜ q Ž e‘ ¨ — ƒ – ‘ ‘ e ‘ ‘ 7 C‘ %–A 1 š St C e A ™i  H C e –A i T” “d ’ ‘ ˜— ‘ • ’  H t ‘ 1 q Ž d | « ¦ q  V V ¨ š £ š š A ’ & š C š ¦ ! š £ C A¦ ’ ! C A  š C A ˜ C q e A 1 ‘ › ¨ h “– • C e A 1 ‘         .“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 110 110 One of the eigenvalues is of opposite sign to the others. where and where is the number of desired fan field lines. using a Runge-Kutta algorithm with variable step size. B. By applying the same approach at the null point to which the separator connects. The other two eigenvectors (e and e ) define a fan plane. We take the start point of the spine field lines to be . we can find an approximation for another section of the separator. clarify and add colour to the diagrams by approximating certain field lines as splines. we can usually approximate a separator for a good part of its length.3 Separators Finding separators is not easy. since field lines tend to diverge away from null points. Field lines r are computed by integrating the field-line equation: (B.4 Drawing topologies The topologies are plotted in three-dimensions by IDL. We take the start points to be x x e e . B.

5 Drawing bifurcation diagrams Bifurcation diagrams are automated as far as is possible . Once the data has been collected. and global separator bifurcations by tracking the connectivity of the separatrix field lines. There is some scope for inaccuracy in this stage. However. local doubleseparator bifurcations are found by varying parameters until the sign of a null point changes.for instance. These are simply found by inspection. the quasi-bifurcations are not easy to find automatically since they involve changes at a large distance from the sources. we connect nearby bifurcation points using smooth curves.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 111 111 B. but the overall picture will be at least approximately correct.                 .

112                 . the basic state for such a configuration consists of two positive prone nulls (i. We make the assumptions here that upright nulls cannot undergo a local double-separator bifurcation and that the four-source case lacks sufficient complexity to allow a coronal local separator bifurcation.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 112 Appendix C: An unlikely-looking coronal null state We have been unable to find a proof that a coronal null is impossible for a four-source case with three sources of the same sign (without loss of generality. assumed positive). In this Appendix. both of which connect to the negative source. The reason this topology seems unlikely is that every local double-separator bifurcation observed (as far as we know) has taken place along an existing separator. We assume that one of these nulls undergoes a local double-separator bifurcation leaving the topology shown in Figure C. either the separate or the enclosed state). although no such null has (so far as we know) ever been found. These two. then.. we show what the topology of such a state would have to look like and provisionally discount it. The fan of the coronal null now forms a dome bounded in the photosphere by the spine field lines of the remaining. positive null.e. no separator exists before the bifurcation. Then.1. are connected by a half-separator (since the negative null is homovertebraic). In this case.

                . The fan of the coronal null forms a dome bounded by the fan of the blue photospheric null. The separator between the two is a half-separator.1: Only possible topology for coronal null in four-source case with three sources of the same sign.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 113 113 Figure C.

E..: 2000.W. C.. E. E. Beveridge. Longcope.W. Astrophys.R.. McMullen.. and Priest.R. 190..R. Astrophys. Geophys.H.R. 540.S. Soc. Alexander D. Solar Phys. Priest. R.“weethesis” 2003/7/11 page 114 Bibliography Antiochos. and Tang.N.: 1999.S.: 2001. G.K. D. J. 209.A. D. 371. 451. J.... ˚ Galsgaard. 114                 . Craig. 485.S.: 1999b. Radio Science 8. 333.R. D. L. and McClymont.: 1998.. and Priest. and Priest. J. and Brown. 231.K. I. Antiochos. 502. Ryder. and Priest. L41.. 367. J. D. D. E. S. S. L.: 2001. 25.K.. Astrophys. 554. E. 369.. DeVore. Metcalf.. C. T. C. 197. J.J. Fletcher.. Cowley. E. and Nightingale.: 2003. 903.R. Aulanier. Astron. Brown. Solar Phys.R. 339. O.. Solar Phys. J. London A455. 3931. Brown. D. L. Brown. and Nordlund. e 183. D´ moulin.D. Astrophys. D.S. Astrophys.R.: 1998.W.S. J. S.: 2000.E. K.: 1999a. S.S. A: 1997. 194. Astrophys. DeLuca. and Priest. Res. C. R. 510. G.. Proc R. Solar Phys. Fang. L181 Antiochos.. A.: 1991. 102.A. accepted. Solar Phys. and Golub.A. Brown. B. and Klimchuk.: 1973.. Schmieder. Y. Brown. Aulanier. E.: 2002. 1126. Beveridge.

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