Abstract We investigate equilibrium height of a flux rope, and its internal equilibrium in a realistic plasma environment by carrying out numerical simulations of the evolution of systems including a current-carrying flux rope. We find that the equilibrium height of a flux rope is approximately described by a power-law function of the relative strength of the background field. Our simulations indicate that the flux rope can escape more easily from a weaker background field. This further confirms that a catastrophe in the magnetic configuration of interest can be triggered by a decrease in strength of the background field. Our results show that it takes some time to reach internal equilibrium depending on the initial state of the flux rope. The plasma flow inside the flux rope due to the adjustment for the internal equilibrium of the flux rope remains small and does not last very long when the initial state of the flux rope commences from the stable branch of the theoretical equilibrium curve. This work also confirms the influence of the initial radius of the flux rope in its evolution; the results indicate that a flux rope with a larger initial radius erupts more easily. In addition, by using a realistic plasma environment and a much higher resolution in our simulations, we notice some different characteristics compared to previous studies in Forbes.
Keywords Sun: eruptions — Sun: magnetic fields — magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) — numerical experiments
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