Talk abstract

Magnetic skeletons: How to find them and why are they important
Andrew L. Haynes; Clare E. Parnell


The Sun is threaded by a complicated magnetic field that is crucial for the processes that transfer energy from the interior to be released as heat in the corona. One way to understand these complex magnetic fields is to use the magnetic skeleton: a set of points (null points), surfaces (separatrix surfaces) and lines (separators) that divide the magnetic flux into many different volumes (flux domains), each containing flux with the same connectivity. The magnetic skeleton is important because it only contains the most important parts of the magnetic field, each of which is a likely site for magnetic reconnection and energy release. Although the definition of the magnetic skeleton is relatively simple, it is in practice often difficult to find the complete magnetic skeleton. Here we present one method that attempts to find the magnetic skeleton, which we then apply to a number of examples. One of these will be a numerical experiment of a resistive MHD model of flux emergence. This will show that the magnetic skeleton in flux emergence and other solar processes is likely to be incredibly complicated but nonetheless important as it reveals some of the most important locations for magnetic reconnection and energy release in these models.