Solar magnetic carpet II: coronal interactions of small-scale magnetic fields

Karen A. Meyer, D. H. Mackay, A. A. van Ballegooijen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is the second in a series of studies working towards constructing a realistic, evolving, non-potential coronal model for the solar magnetic carpet. In the present study, the interaction of two magnetic elements is considered. Our objectives are to study magnetic energy build-up, storage and dissipation as a result of emergence, cancellation, and flyby of these magnetic elements. In the future these interactions will be the basic building blocks of more complicated simulations involving hundreds of elements. Each interaction is simulated in the presence of an overlying uniform magnetic field, which lies at various orientations with respect to the evolving magnetic elements. For these three small-scale interactions, the free energy stored in the field at the end of the simulation ranges from 0.2 – 2.1×1026 ergs, whilst the total energy dissipated ranges from 1.3 – 6.3×1026 ergs. For all cases, a stronger overlying field results in higher energy storage and dissipation. For the cancellation and emergence simulations, motion perpendicular to the overlying field results in the highest values. For the flyby simulations, motion parallel to the overlying field gives the highest values. In all cases, the free energy built up is sufficient to explain small-scale phenomena such as X-ray bright points or nanoflares. In addition, if scaled for the correct number of magnetic elements for the volume considered, the energy continually dissipated provides a significant fraction of the quiet Sun coronal heating budget.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149–175
Number of pages27
JournalSolar Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Sun: magnetic fields


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