Casting the Coronal Magnetic Field Reconstruction Tools in 3D Using the MHD Bifrost Model

Gregory Fleishman, Sergey Anfinogentov, Maria Loukitcheva, Ivan Mysh'Yakov, Alexey Stupishin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Quantifying the coronal magnetic field remains a central problem in solar physics. Nowadays, the coronal magnetic field is often modeled using nonlinear force-free field (NLFFF) reconstructions, whose accuracy has not yet been comprehensively assessed. Here we perform a detailed casting of the NLFFF reconstruction tools, such as π-disambiguation, photospheric field preprocessing, and volume reconstruction methods, using a 3D snapshot of the publicly available full-fledged radiative MHD model. Specifically, from the MHD model, we know the magnetic field vector in the entire 3D domain, which enables us to perform a "voxel-by-voxel" comparison of the restored and the true magnetic fields in the 3D model volume. Our tests show that the available π-disambiguation methods often fail in the quiet-Sun areas dominated by small-scale magnetic elements, while they work well in the active region (AR) photosphere and (even better) chromosphere. The preprocessing of the photospheric magnetic field, although it does produce a more force-free boundary condition, also results in some effective "elevation" of the magnetic field components. This "elevation" height is different for the longitudinal and transverse components, which results in a systematic error in absolute heights in the reconstructed magnetic data cube. The extrapolations performed starting from the actual AR photospheric magnetogram are free from this systematic error, while other metrics are comparable with those for extrapolations from the preprocessed magnetograms. This finding favors the use of extrapolations from the original photospheric magnetogram without preprocessing. Our tests further suggest that extrapolations from a force-free chromospheric boundary produce measurably better results than those from a photospheric boundary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number30
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 10 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: chromosphere
  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: general
  • Sun: magnetic fields
  • Sun: photosphere
  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)


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