Solar Magnetic Carpet II: Coronal Interactions of Small-Scale Magnetic Fields

K. A. Meyer (Lead / Corresponding author), D. H. Mackay, A. A. van Ballegooijen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 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 × 10 26 ergs, whilst the total energy dissipated ranges from 1.3 - 6.3 × 10 26 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
Early online date24 Jan 2012
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


  • Sun: magnetic fields

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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