Solar Physics

, Volume 157, Issue 1–2, pp 185–197 | Cite as

Line-of-sight magnetic flux imbalances caused by electric currents

  • G. Allen Gary
  • Douglas Rabin


Several physical and observational effects may contribute to the significant imbalances of magnetic flux that are often observed in active regions. We consider an effect not previously treated: the influence of electric currents in the photosphere. Electric currents can cause a line-of-sight flux imbalance because of the directionality of the magnetic field they produce. Currents associated with magnetic flux tubes produce larger imbalances than do smoothly-varying distributions of flux and current. We estimate the magnitude of this effect for current densities, total currents, and magnetic geometry consistent with observations. The expected imbalances lie approximately in the range 0–15%, depending on the character of the current-carrying fields and the angle from which they are viewed. Observationally, current-induced flux imbalances could be indicated by a statistical dependence of the imbalance on angular distance from disk center. A general study of magnetic flux balance in active regions is needed to determine the relative importance of other - probably larger -effects such as dilute flux (too weak to measure or rendered invisible by radiative transfer effects), merging with weak background fields, and long-range connections between active regions.


Active Region Electric Current Magnetic Flux Radiative Transfer General Study 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Allen Gary
    • 1
  • Douglas Rabin
    • 2
  1. 1.Space Sciences Laboratory/ES82NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight CenterHuntsvilleUSA
  2. 2.National Solar ObservatoryNational Optical Astronomy ObservatoriesTucsonUSA

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