Magnetic Structures at the Boundary of the Closed Corona: A Semi-automated Study of S-web Morphology

Roger B. Scott (Lead / Corresponding author), David I. Pontin, Peter F. Wyper

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Abstract

Interchange reconnection is thought to play an important role in driving the dynamics of the slow solar wind. To understand the details of this process, it is important to catalog the various magnetic structures that are present at the boundary between open and closed magnetic flux. To this end we have developed a numerical method for partitioning the coronal volume into individual flux domains using volume segmentation along layers of high magnetic squashing degree (Q). Our publicly available implementation of this method is able to identify the different magnetic structures within a coronal magnetic field model that define the open-closed boundary and comprise the so-called Separatrix-Web (S-Web). With this we test previous predictions of how different configurations of high-Q arcs within the S-Web are related to coronal magnetic field structures. Here we present our findings from a survey of 11 different potential field source surface models, spanning from 2008 to 2017, which offer a representative sample of the coronal magnetic field across nearly a complete solar cycle. Two key findings of our analysis are that (i) "vertex" structures—where arcs of the S-Web meet away from the heliospheric current sheet—are associated with underlying magnetic dome structures, and (ii) that any given arc of the S-Web is almost equally as likely to be formed by a narrow corridor of open flux (corresponding to a hyperbolic flux tube) as by the separatrix surface of a magnetic null. Together, these findings highlight the importance of a variety of topological configurations for future studies of interchange reconnection and the acceleration of the solar wind.
Original languageEnglish
Article number125
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume882
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2019

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Keywords

  • Magnetic fields
  • Solar corona
  • Slow solar wind
  • Space weather
  • Solar magnetic reconnection

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