Gas-magnetic field interactions in the solar corona
It is evident from eclipse photographs that gas-magnetic field interactions are important in determining the structure and dynamical properties of the solar corona and interplanetary medium. Close to the Sun in regions of strong field, the coronal gas can be contained within closed loop structures. However, since the field in these regions decreases outward rapidly, the pressure and inertial forces of the solar wind eventually dominate and distend the field outward into interplanetary space. The complete geometrical and dynamical state is determined by a complex interplay of inertial, pressure, gravitational, and magnetic forces. The present paper is oriented toward the understanding of this interaction. The ‘helmet’ streamer type configuration with its associated neutral point and sheet currents is of central importance in this problem and is, therefore, considered in some detail.
Integration of the relevant partial differential equations is made tractable by an iterative technique consisting of three basic stages, which are described at length. A sample solution obtained by this method is presented and its physical properties discussed.
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