Modelling the sun's small scale global photospheric magnetic field

Karen A. Meyer, D. H. Mackay

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Abstract

We present a new model for the Sun's global photospheric magnetic field during a deep minimum of activity, in which no active regions emerge. The emergence and subsequent evolution of small- scale magnetic features across the full solar surface is simulated, subject to the influence of a global supergranular flow pattern. Visually, the resulting simulated magnetograms reproduce the typical structure and scale observed in quiet Sun magnetograms. Quantitatively, the simulation quickly reaches a steady state, resulting in a mean field and flux distribution that are in good agreement with those determined from observations. A potential coronal magnetic field is extrapolated from the simulated full Sun magnetograms, to consider the implications of such a quiet photospheric magnetic field on the corona and inner heliosphere. The bulk of the coronal magnetic field closes very low down, in short connections between small-scale features in the simulated magnetic network. Just 0.1% of the photospheric magnetic flux is found to be open at 2:5 Rʘ, around 10 - 100 times less than that determined for typical HMI synoptic map observations. If such conditions were to exist on the Sun, this would lead to a significantly weaker interplanetary magnetic field than is presently observed, and hence a much higher cosmic ray flux at Earth.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume830
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2016

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magnetic signatures
sun
magnetic field
magnetic fields
modeling
heliosphere
interplanetary magnetic fields
coronas
magnetic flux
cosmic rays
flow distribution
flow pattern
cosmic ray
corona
simulation

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Meyer, Karen A. ; Mackay, D. H. / Modelling the sun's small scale global photospheric magnetic field. In: Astrophysical Journal. 2016 ; Vol. 830, No. 2.
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Modelling the sun's small scale global photospheric magnetic field. / Meyer, Karen A.; Mackay, D. H.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 830, No. 2, 19.10.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

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AU - Mackay, D. H.

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AB - We present a new model for the Sun's global photospheric magnetic field during a deep minimum of activity, in which no active regions emerge. The emergence and subsequent evolution of small- scale magnetic features across the full solar surface is simulated, subject to the influence of a global supergranular flow pattern. Visually, the resulting simulated magnetograms reproduce the typical structure and scale observed in quiet Sun magnetograms. Quantitatively, the simulation quickly reaches a steady state, resulting in a mean field and flux distribution that are in good agreement with those determined from observations. A potential coronal magnetic field is extrapolated from the simulated full Sun magnetograms, to consider the implications of such a quiet photospheric magnetic field on the corona and inner heliosphere. The bulk of the coronal magnetic field closes very low down, in short connections between small-scale features in the simulated magnetic network. Just 0.1% of the photospheric magnetic flux is found to be open at 2:5 Rʘ, around 10 - 100 times less than that determined for typical HMI synoptic map observations. If such conditions were to exist on the Sun, this would lead to a significantly weaker interplanetary magnetic field than is presently observed, and hence a much higher cosmic ray flux at Earth.

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