Determination of the topology skeleton of magnetic fields in a solar active region

Hui Zhao, Jing Xiu Wang, Jun Zhang, Chi Jie Xiao, Haimin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Magnetic topology has been a key to the understanding of magnetic energy release mechanism. Based on observed vector magnetograms, we have determined the three-dimensional (3D) topology skeleton of the magnetic fields in the active region NOAA 10720. The skeleton consists of six 3D magnetic nulls and a network of corresponding spines, fans, and null-null lines. For the first time, we have identified a spiral magnetic null in Sun's corona. The magnetic lines of force twisted around the spine of the null, forming a 'magnetic wreath' with excess of free magnetic energy and resembling observed brightening structures at extra-ultraviolet (EUV) wavebands. We found clear evidence of topology eruptions which are referred to as catastrophic changes of topology skeleton associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME) and an explosive X-ray flare. These results shed new lights on the structural complexity and its role in explosive magnetic activity. The concept of flux rope has been widely used in modelling explosive magnetic activity, although their observational identity is rather obscure or, at least, lacking of necessary details up to date. We suggest that the magnetic wreath associated with the 3D spiral null is likely an important class of the physical entity of flux ropes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-145
Number of pages13
JournalChinese Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: magnetic fields
  • Sun: solar corona


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