Laboratory Evidence That Line-Tied Toroidal Magnetic Fields Can Suppress Loss-of-Equilibrium Flux Rope Eruptions in the Solar Corona

Monday, 15 December 2014
Clayton Edward Myers1,2, Masaaki Yamada1, Elena Belova1, Hantao Ji1,2, Jongsoo Yoo1, William R Fox II1,2 and Jonathan Jara-Almonte1,2, (1)Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton, NJ, United States, (2)Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, United States
Loss-of-equilibrium mechanisms such as the ideal torus instability [Kliem & Török, Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 255002 (2006)] are predicted to drive arched flux ropes in the solar corona to erupt. In recent line-tied flux rope experiments conducted in the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX), however, we find that quasi-statically driven flux ropes remain confined well beyond the predicted torus instability threshold. In order to understand this behavior, in situ measurements from a 300 channel 2D magnetic probe array are used to comprehensively analyze the force balance between the external (potential) and internal (plasma-generated) magnetic fields. We find that forces due to the line-tied toroidal magnetic field, which are not included in the basic torus instability theory, can play a major role in preventing eruptions. The dependence of these toroidal magnetic forces on various potential field and flux rope parameters will be discussed.

This research is supported by DoE Contract Number DE-AC02-09CH11466 and by the NSF/DoE Center for Magnetic Self-Organization (CMSO).