Solar Physics

, Volume 243, Issue 2, pp 171–191

Topological Aspects of Global Magnetic Field Reversal in the Solar Corona

Article

Abstract

Every eleven years on average, the dipolar component of the Sun’s global coronal magnetic field reverses in sign – a consequence of the sunspot cycle. In this paper we begin to investigate the complex changes in coronal structure during the reversal. We present a simplified model of the solar cycle containing six time-varying photospheric sources of magnetic field and analyse the evolution of the global coronal field using the technique of magnetic charge topology. Surprisingly, a sequence of seventeen topological changes takes place in the model between one solar minimum state and the next; many of the resultant topological configurations correspond to observable magnetic field structures in the real corona. We also show how descriptions of all the six-source topological states from the model can be built up in terms of combinations of simpler four-source states, providing a framework for future descriptions of even more complicated topological states.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Armagh ObservatoryArmaghNorthern Ireland, UK
  2. 2.Institute of MathematicsUniversity of St AndrewsSt AndrewsScotland, UK

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