Browsing by Subject "Sun: magnetic fields"

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  • Nikbakhsh, S.; Tanskanen, E. I.; Käpylä, M. J.; Hackman, T. (2019)
    Aims. Our aim is to examine the solar cycle variability of magnetically simple and complex active region. Methods. We studied simple (alpha and beta) and complex (beta gamma and beta gamma delta) active regions based on the Mount Wilson magnetic classification by applying our newly developed daily approach. We analyzed the daily number of the simple active regions (SARs) and compared that to the abundance of the complex active regions (CARs) over the entire solar cycle 23 and cycle 24 until December 2018. Results. We show that CARs evolve differently over the solar cycle from SARs. The time evolution of SARs and CARs on different hemispheres also shows differences, even though on average their latitudinal distributions are shown to be similar. The time evolution of SARs closely follows that of the sunspot number, and their maximum abundance was observed to occur during the early maximum phase, while that of the CARs was seen roughly two years later. We furthermore found that the peak of CARs was reached before the latitudinal width of the activity band starts to decease. Conclusion. Our results suggest that the active region formation process is a competition between the large-scale dynamo (LSD) and the small-scale dynamo (SSD) near the surface, the former varying cyclically and the latter being independent of the solar cycle. During solar maximum, LSD is dominant, giving a preference to SARs, while during the declining phase the relative role of SSD increases. Therefore, a preference for CARs is seen due to the influence of the SSD on the emerging flux.
  • Wijsen, N.; Aran, A.; Pomoell, J.; Poedts, S. (2019)
    Aims. We study how a fast solar wind stream embedded in a slow solar wind influences the spread of solar energetic protons in interplanetary space. In particular, we aim at understanding how the particle intensity and anisotropy vary along interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) lines that encounter changing solar wind conditions such as the shock waves bounding a corotating interaction region (CIR). Moreover, we study how the intensities and anisotropies vary as a function of the longitudinal and latitudinal coordinate, and how the width of the particle intensities evolves with the heliographic radial distance. Furthermore, we study how cross-field diffusion may alter these spatial profiles. Methods. To model the energetic protons, we used a recently developed particle transport code that computes particle distributions in the heliosphere by solving the focused transport equation (RTE) in a stochastic manner. The particles are propagated in a solar wind containing a CIR, which was generated by the heliospheric model, EUHFORIA. We study four cases in which we assume a delta injection of 4 MeV protons spread uniformly over different regions at the inner boundary of the model. These source regions have the same size and shape, yet are shifted in longitude from each other, and are therefore magnetically connected to different solar wind conditions. Results. The intensity and anisotropy profiles along selected IMF lines vary strongly according to the different solar wind conditions encountered along the field line. The IMF lines crossing the shocks bounding the CIR show the formation of accelerated particle populations, with the reverse shock wave being a more efficient accelerator than the forward shock wave. The longitudinal intensity profiles near the CIR are highly asymmetric in contrast to the profiles obtained in a nominal solar wind. For the injection regions that do not cross the transition zone between the fast and slow solar wind, we observe a steep intensity drop of several orders of magnitude near the stream interface (SI) inside the CIR. Moreover, we demonstrate that the longitudinal width of the particle intensity distribution can increase, decrease, or remain constant with heliographic radial distance, reflecting the underlying IMF structure. Finally, we show how the deflection of the IMF at the shock waves and the compression of the IMF in the CIR deforms the three-dimensional shape of the particle distribution in such a way that the original shape of the injection profile is lost.
  • Battarbee, Markus; Dalla, Silvia; Marsh, Mike S. (2018)
    Understanding the transport of solar energetic particles (SEPs) from acceleration sites at the Sun into interplanetary space and to the Earth is an important question for forecasting space weather. The interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), with two distinct polarities and a complex structure, governs energetic particle transport and drifts. We analyze for the first time the effect of a wavy heliospheric current sheet (HCS) on the propagation of SEPs. We inject protons close to the Sun and propagate them by integrating fully 3D trajectories within the inner heliosphere in the presence of weak scattering. We model the HCS position using fits based on neutral lines of magnetic field source surface maps (SSMs). We map 1 au proton crossings, which show efficient transport in longitude via HCS, depending on the location of the injection region with respect to the HCS. For HCS tilt angles around 30 degrees-40 degrees, we find significant qualitative differences between A+ and A- configurations of the IMF, with stronger fluences along the HCS in the former case but with a distribution of particles across a wider range of longitudes and latitudes in the latter. We show how a wavy current sheet leads to longitudinally periodic enhancements in particle fluence. We show that for an A+ IMF configuration, a wavy HCS allows for more proton deceleration than a flat HCS. We find that A- IMF configurations result in larger average fluences than A+ IMF configurations, due to a radial drift component at the current sheet.
  • Asvestari, Eleanna; Pomoell, Jens; Kilpua, Emilia; Good, Simon; Chatzistergos, Theodosios; Temmer, Manuela; Palmerio, Erika; Poedts, Stefaan; Magdalenic, Jasmina (2021)
    Context. Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are a manifestation of the Sun's eruptive nature. They can have a great impact on Earth, but also on human activity in space and on the ground. Therefore, modelling their evolution as they propagate through interplanetary space is essential. Aims. EUropean Heliospheric FORecasting Information Asset (EUHFORIA) is a data-driven, physics-based model, tracing the evolution of CMEs through background solar wind conditions. It employs a spheromak flux rope, which provides it with the advantage of reconstructing the internal magnetic field configuration of CMEs. This is something that is not included in the simpler cone CME model used so far for space weather forecasting. This work aims at assessing the spheromak CME model included in EUHFORIA. Methods. We employed the spheromak CME model to reconstruct a well observed CME and compare model output to in situ observations. We focus on an eruption from 6 January 2013 that was encountered by two radially aligned spacecraft, Venus Express and STEREO-A. We first analysed the observed properties of the source of this CME eruption and we extracted the CME properties as it lifted off from the Sun. Using this information, we set up EUHFORIA runs to model the event. Results. The model predicts arrival times from half to a full day ahead of the in situ observed ones, but within errors established from similar studies. In the modelling domain, the CME appears to be propagating primarily southward, which is in accordance with white-light images of the CME eruption close to the Sun. Conclusions. In order to get the observed magnetic field topology, we aimed at selecting a spheromak rotation angle for which the axis of symmetry of the spheromak is perpendicular to the direction of the polarity inversion line (PIL). The modelled magnetic field profiles, their amplitude, arrival times, and sheath region length are all affected by the choice of radius of the modelled spheromak.
  • Wijsen, N.; Aran, A.; Pomoell, J.; Poedts, S. (2019)
    Aims. We introduce a new solar energetic particle (SEP) transport code that aims at studying the effects of different background solar wind configurations on SEP events. In this work, we focus on the influence of varying solar wind velocities on the adiabatic energy changes of SEPs and study how a non-Parker background solar wind can trap particles temporarily at small heliocentric radial distances (less than or similar to 1.5AU) thereby influencing the cross-field diffusion of SEPs in the interplanetary space. Methods. Our particle transport code computes particle distributions in the heliosphere by solving the focused transport equation (FTE) in a stochastic manner. Particles are propagated in a solar wind generated by the newly developed data-driven heliospheric model, EUHFORIA. In this work, we solve the FTE, including all solar wind effects, cross-field diffusion, and magnetic-field gradient and curvature drifts. As initial conditions, we assume a delta injection of 4 MeV protons, spread uniformly over a selected region at the inner boundary of the model. To verify the model, we first propagate particles in nominal undisturbed fast and slow solar winds. Thereafter, we simulate and analyse the propagation of particles in a solar wind containing a corotating interaction region (CIR). We study the particle intensities and anisotropies measured by a fleet of virtual observers located at different positions in the heliosphere, as well as the global distribution of particles in interplanetary space. Results. The differential intensity-time profiles obtained in the simulations using the nominal Parker solar wind solutions illustrate the considerable adiabatic deceleration undergone by SEPs, especially when propagating in a fast solar wind. In the case of the solar wind containing a CIR, we observe that particles adiabatically accelerate when propagating in the compression waves bounding the CIR at small radial distances. In addition, for r greater than or similar to 1.5AU, there are particles accelerated by the reverse shock as indicated by, for example, the anisotropies and pitch-angle distributions of the particles. Moreover, a decrease in high-energy particles at the stream interface (SI) inside the CIR is observed. The compression /shock waves and the magnetic configuration near the SI may also act as a magnetic mirror, producing long-lasting high intensities at small radial distances. We also illustrate how the efficiency of the cross-field diffusion in spreading particles in the heliosphere is enhanced due to compressed magnetic fields. Finally, the inclusion of cross-field diffusion enables some particles to cross both the forward compression wave at small radial distances and the forward shock at larger radial distances. This results in the formation of an accelerated particle population centred on the forward shock, despite the lack of magnetic connection between the particle injection region and this shock wave. Particles injected in the fast solar wind stream cannot reach the forward shock since the SI acts as a diffusion barrier.
  • Rouillard, A. P.; Pinto, R. F.; Vourlidas, A.; De Groof, A.; Thompson, W. T.; Bemporad, A.; Dolei, S.; Indurain, M.; Buchlin, E.; Sasso, C.; Spadaro, D.; Dalmasse, K.; Hirzberger, J.; Zouganelis, I.; Strugarek, A.; Brun, A. S.; Alexandre, M.; Berghmans, D.; Raouafi, N. E.; Wiegelmann, T.; Pagano, P.; Arge, C. N.; Nieves-Chinchilla, T.; Lavarra, M.; Poirier, N.; Amari, T.; Aran, A.; Andretta, V.; Antonucci, E.; Anastasiadis, A.; Auchere, F.; Bellot Rubio, L.; Nicula, B.; Bonnin, X.; Bouchemit, M.; Budnik, E.; Caminade, S.; Cecconi, B.; Carlyle, J.; Cernuda, I.; Davila, J. M.; Etesi, L.; Espinosa Lara, F.; Fedorov, A.; Fineschi, S.; Fludra, A.; Genot, V.; Georgoulis, M. K.; Gilbert, H. R.; Giunta, A.; Gomez-Herrero, R.; Guest, S.; Haberreiter, M.; Hassler, D.; Henney, C. J.; Howard, R. A.; Horbury, T. S.; Janvier, M.; Jones, S. I.; Kozarev, K.; Kraaikamp, E.; Kouloumvakos, A.; Krucker, S.; Lagg, A.; Linker, J.; Lavraud, B.; Louarn, P.; Maksimovic, M.; Maloney, S.; Mann, G.; Masson, A.; Mueller, D.; Onel, H.; Osuna, P.; Orozco Suarez, D.; Owen, C. J.; Papaioannou, A.; Perez-Suarez, D.; Rodriguez-Pacheco, J.; Parenti, S.; Pariat, E.; Peter, H.; Plunkett, S.; Pomoell, J.; Raines, J. M.; Riethmueller, T. L.; Rich, N.; Rodriguez, L.; Romoli, M.; Sanchez, L.; Solanki, S. K.; St Cyr, O. C.; Straus, T.; Susino, R.; Teriaca, L.; del Toro Iniesta, J. C.; Ventura, R.; Verbeeck, C.; Vilmer, N.; Warmuth, A.; Walsh, A. P.; Watson, C.; Williams, D.; Wu, Y.; Zhukov, A. N. (2020)
    Context. The Solar Orbiter spacecraft will be equipped with a wide range of remote-sensing (RS) and in situ (IS) instruments to record novel and unprecedented measurements of the solar atmosphere and the inner heliosphere. To take full advantage of these new datasets, tools and techniques must be developed to ease multi-instrument and multi-spacecraft studies. In particular the currently inaccessible low solar corona below two solar radii can only be observed remotely. Furthermore techniques must be used to retrieve coronal plasma properties in time and in three dimensional (3D) space. Solar Orbiter will run complex observation campaigns that provide interesting opportunities to maximise the likelihood of linking IS data to their source region near the Sun. Several RS instruments can be directed to specific targets situated on the solar disk just days before data acquisition. To compare IS and RS, data we must improve our understanding of how heliospheric probes magnetically connect to the solar disk.Aims. The aim of the present paper is to briefly review how the current modelling of the Sun and its atmosphere can support Solar Orbiter science. We describe the results of a community-led effort by European Space Agency's Modelling and Data Analysis Working Group (MADAWG) to develop different models, tools, and techniques deemed necessary to test different theories for the physical processes that may occur in the solar plasma. The focus here is on the large scales and little is described with regards to kinetic processes. To exploit future IS and RS data fully, many techniques have been adapted to model the evolving 3D solar magneto-plasma from the solar interior to the solar wind. A particular focus in the paper is placed on techniques that can estimate how Solar Orbiter will connect magnetically through the complex coronal magnetic fields to various photospheric and coronal features in support of spacecraft operations and future scientific studies.Methods. Recent missions such as STEREO, provided great opportunities for RS, IS, and multi-spacecraft studies. We summarise the achievements and highlight the challenges faced during these investigations, many of which motivated the Solar Orbiter mission. We present the new tools and techniques developed by the MADAWG to support the science operations and the analysis of the data from the many instruments on Solar Orbiter.Results. This article reviews current modelling and tool developments that ease the comparison of model results with RS and IS data made available by current and upcoming missions. It also describes the modelling strategy to support the science operations and subsequent exploitation of Solar Orbiter data in order to maximise the scientific output of the mission.Conclusions. The on-going community effort presented in this paper has provided new models and tools necessary to support mission operations as well as the science exploitation of the Solar Orbiter data. The tools and techniques will no doubt evolve significantly as we refine our procedure and methodology during the first year of operations of this highly promising mission.
  • Scolini, C.; Rodriguez, L.; Mierla, M.; Pomoell, J.; Poedts, S. (2019)
    Context. Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are the primary source of strong space weather disturbances at Earth. Their geo-effectiveness is largely determined by their dynamic pressure and internal magnetic fields, for which reliable predictions at Earth are not possible with traditional cone CME models. Aims. We study two well-observed Earth-directed CMEs using the EUropean Heliospheric FORecasting Information Asset (EUH-FORIA) model, testing for the first time the predictive capabilities of a linear force-free spheromak CME model initialised using parameters derived from remote-sensing observations. Methods. Using observation-based CME input parameters, we performed magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the events with EU-HFORIA, using the cone and spheromak CME models. Results. Simulations show that spheromak CMEs propagate faster than cone CMEs when initialised with the same kinematic parameters. We interpret these differences as the result of different Lorentz forces acting within cone and spheromak CMEs, which lead to different CME expansions in the heliosphere. Such discrepancies can be mitigated by initialising spheromak CMEs with a reduced speed corresponding to the radial speed only. Results at Earth provide evidence that the spheromak model improves the predictions of B (B-z) by up to 12-60 (22-40) percentage points compared to a cone model. Considering virtual spacecraft located within +/- 10 degrees around Earth, B (Bz) predictions reach 45-70% (58-78%) of the observed peak values. The spheromak model shows inaccurate predictions of the magnetic field parameters at Earth for CMEs propagating away from the Sun-Earth line. Conclusions. The spheromak model successfully predicts the CME properties and arrival time in the case of strictly Earth-directed events, while modelling CMEs propagating away from the Sun-Earth line requires extra care due to limitations related to the assumed spherical shape. The spatial variability of modelling results and the typical uncertainties in the reconstructed CME direction advocate the need to consider predictions at Earth and at virtual spacecraft located around it.
  • Clarke, Brendan P.; Morosan, Diana E.; Gallagher, Peter T.; Dorovskyy, Vladimir V.; Konovalenko, Alexander A.; Carley, Eoin P. (2019)
    Context. Solar activity is often accompanied by solar radio emission, consisting of numerous types of solar radio bursts. At low frequencies (<100 MHz) radio bursts with short durations of milliseconds, such as solar S-bursts, have been identified. To date, their origin and many of their characteristics remain unclear. Aims. We report observations from the Ukrainian T-shaped Radio telescope, (UTR-2), and the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) which give us new insight into their nature. Methods. Over 3000 S-bursts were observed on 9 July 2013 at frequencies of 17.4-83.1MHz during a period of low solar activity. Leading models of S-burst generation were tested by analysing the spectral properties of S-bursts and estimating coronal magnetic field strengths. Results. S-bursts were found to have short durations of 0.5-0.9 s. Multiple instruments were used to measure the dependence of drift rate on frequency which is represented by a power law with an index of 1.57. For the first time, we show a linear relation between instantaneous bandwidth and frequency over a wide frequency band. The flux calibration and high sensitivity of UTR-2 enabled measurements of their fluxes, which yielded 11 +/- 3 solar flux units (1 SFU equivalent to 10(4) Jy). The source particle velocities of S-bursts were found to be similar to 0.07 c. S-burst source heights were found to range from 1.3 R-circle dot to 2 R-circle dot. Furthermore, a contemporary theoretical model of S-burst generation was used to conduct remote sensing of the coronal magnetic field at these heights which yielded values of 0.9-5.8 G. Within error, these values are comparable to those predicted by various relations between magnetic field strength and height in the corona.
  • Wijsen, N.; Aran, A.; Sanahuja, B.; Pomoell, J.; Poedts, S. (2020)
    Aims. We study the effect of the magnetic gradient and curvature drifts on the pitch-angle dependent transport of solar energetic particles (SEPs) in the heliosphere, focussing on similar to 3-36 MeV protons. By considering observers located at different positions in the heliosphere, we investigate how drifts may alter the measured intensity-time profiles and energy spectra. We focus on the decay phase of solar energetic proton events in which a temporal invariant spectrum and disappearing spatial intensity gradients are often observed; a phenomenon known as the "reservoir effect" or the "SEP flood". We study the effects of drifts by propagating particles both in nominal and non-nominal solar wind conditions.Methods. We used a three-dimensional (3D) particle transport model, solving the focused transport equation extended with the effect of particle drifts in the spatial term. Nominal Parker solar wind configurations of different speeds and a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) generated solar wind containing a corotating interaction region (CIR) were considered. The latter configuration gives rise to a magnetic bottle structure, with one bottleneck at the Sun and the other at the CIR. We inject protons from a fixed source at 0.1 AU, the inner boundary of the MHD model.Results. When the drift induced particle net-flux is zero, the modelled intensity-time profiles obtained at different radial distances along an IMF line show the same intensity fall-off after the prompt phase of the particle event, which is in accordance with the SEP flood phenomenon. However, observers magnetically connected close to the edges of the particle injection site can experience, as a result of drifts, a sudden drop in the intensities occurring at different times for different energies such that no SEP flood phenomenon is established. In the magnetic bottle structure, this effect is enhanced due to the presence of magnetic field gradients strengthening the nominal particle drifts. Moreover, anisotropies can be large for observers that only receive particles through drifts, illustrating the importance of pitch-angle dependent 3D particle modelling. We observe that interplanetary cross-field diffusion can mitigate the effects of particle drifts.Conclusions. Particle drifts can substantially modify the decay phase of SEP events, especially if the solar wind contains compression regions or shock waves where the drifts are enhanced. This is, for example, the case for our CIR solar wind configuration generated with a 3D MHD model, where the effect of drifts is strong. A similar decay rate in different energy channels and for different observers requires the mitigation of the effect of drifts. One way to accomplish this is through interplanetary cross-field diffusion, suggesting thus a way to determine a minimum value for the cross-field diffusion strength.
  • Verbeke, C.; Pomoell, J.; Poedts, S. (2019)
    Aims. We introduce a new model for coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that has been implemented in the magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) inner heliosphere model EUHFORIA. Utilising a linear force-free spheromak (LFFS) solution, the model provides an intrinsic magnetic field structure for the CME. As a result, the new model has the potential to predict the magnetic components of CMEs at Earth. In this paper, we present the implementation of the new model and show the capability of the new model. Methods. We present initial validation runs for the new magnetised CME model by considering the same set of events as used in the initial validation run of EUHFORIA that employed the Cone model. In particular, we have focused on modelling the CME that was responsible for creating the largest geomagnetic disturbance (Dst index). Two scenarios are discussed: one where a single magnetised CME is launched and another in which we launch all five Earth-directed CMEs that were observed during the considered time period. Four out of the five CMEs were modelled using the Cone model. Results. In the first run, where the propagation of a single magnetized CME is considered, we find that the magnetic field components at Earth are well reproduced as compared to in-situ spacecraft data. Considering a virtual spacecraft that is separated approximately seven heliographic degrees from the position of Earth, we note that the centre of the magnetic cloud is missing Earth and a considerably larger magnetic field strength can be found when shifting to that location. For the second run, launching four Cone CMEs and one LFFS CME, we notice that the simulated magnetised CME is arriving at the same time as in the corresponding full Cone model run. We find that to achieve this, the speed of the CME needs to be reduced in order to compensate for the expansion of the CME due to the addition of the magnetic field inside the CME. The reduced initial speed of the CME and the added magnetic field structure give rise to a very similar propagation of the CME with approximately the same arrival time at 1 au. In contrast to the Cone model, however, the magnetised CME is able to predict the magnetic field components at Earth. However, due to the interaction between the Cone model CMEs and the magnetised CME, the magnetic field amplitude is significantly lower than for the run using a single magnetised CME. Conclusions. We have presented the LFFS model that is able to simulate and predict the magnetic field components and the propagation of magnetised CMEs in the inner heliosphere and at Earth. We note that shifting towards a virtual spacecraft in the neighbourhood of Earth can give rise to much stronger magnetic field components. This gives the option of adding a grid of virtual spacecrafts to give a range of values for the magnetic field components.
  • Pal, Sanchita; Kilpua, Emilia; Good, Simon; Pomoell, Jens; Price, Daniel (2021)
    Context. Magnetic clouds (MCs) are transient structures containing large-scale magnetic flux ropes from solar eruptions. The twist of magnetic field lines around the rope axis reveals information about flux rope formation processes and geoeffectivity. During propagation MC flux ropes may erode via reconnection with the ambient solar wind. Any erosion reduces the magnetic flux and helicity of the ropes, and changes their cross-sectional twist profiles. Aims. This study relates twist profiles in MC flux ropes observed at 1 AU to the amount of erosion undergone by the MCs in interplanetary space. Methods. The twist profiles of two clearly identified MC flux ropes associated with the clear appearance of post eruption arcades in the solar corona are analyzed. To infer the amount of erosion, the magnetic flux content of the ropes in the solar atmosphere is estimated, and compared to estimates at 1 AU. Results. The first MC shows a monotonically decreasing twist from the axis to the periphery, while the second displays high twist at the axis, rising twist near the edges, and lower twist in between. The first MC displays a larger reduction in magnetic flux between the Sun and 1 AU, suggesting more erosion than that seen in the second MC. Conclusions. In the second cloud the rising twist at the rope edges may have been due to an envelope of overlying coronal field lines with relatively high twist, formed by reconnection beneath the erupting flux rope in the low corona. This high-twist envelope remained almost intact from the Sun to 1 AU due to the low erosion levels. In contrast, the high-twist envelope of the first cloud may have been entirely peeled away via erosion by the time it reaches 1 AU.