skip to main content

Title: ngVLA Observations of Coronal Magnetic Fields
Energy stored in the magnetic field in the solar atmosphere above active regions is a key driver of all solar activity (e.g., solar flares and coronal mass ejections), some of which can affect life on Earth. Radio observations provide a unique diagnostic of the coronal magnetic fields that make them a critical tool for the study of these phenomena, using the technique of broadband radio imaging spectropolarimetry. Observations with the ngVLA will provide unique observations of coronal magnetic fields and their evolution, key inputs and constraints for MHD numerical models of the solar atmosphere and eruptive processes, and a key link between lower layers of the solar atmosphere and the heliosphere. In doing so they will also provide practical "research to operations" guidance for space weather forecasting.
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Science with a Next-Generation Very Large Array ASP Conference Series, Monograph 7
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Aims. We analyse particle, radio, and X-ray observations during the first relativistic proton event of solar cycle 25 detected on Earth. The aim is to gain insight into the relationship between relativistic solar particles detected in space and the processes of acceleration and propagation in solar eruptive events. Methods. To this end, we used ground-based neutron monitor measurements of relativistic nucleons and space-borne measurements of electrons with similar speed to determine the arrival times of the first particles at 1 AU and to infer their solar release times. We compared the release times with the time histories of non-thermal electrons in the solar atmosphere and their escape to interplanetary space, as traced by radio spectra and X-ray light curves and images. Results. Non-thermal electrons in the corona are found to be accelerated in different regions. Some are confined in closed magnetic structures expanding during the course of the event. Three episodes of electron escape to the interplanetary space are revealed by groups of decametric-to-kilometric type III bursts. The first group appears on the low-frequency side of a type II burst produced by a coronal shock wave. The two latter groups are accompanied at higher frequencies by bursts with rapid driftsmore »to both lower and higher frequencies (forward- or reverse-drifting bursts). They are produced by electron beams that propagate both sunward and anti-sunward. The first relativistic electrons and nucleons observed near Earth are released with the third group of type III bursts, more than ten minutes after the first signatures of non-thermal electrons and of the formation of the shock wave in the corona. Although the eruptive active region is near the central meridian, several tens of degrees east of the footpoint of the nominal Parker spiral to the Earth, the kilometric spectrum of the type III bursts and the in situ detection of Langmuir waves demonstrate a direct magnetic connection between the L1 Lagrange point and the field lines onto which the electron beams are released at the Sun. Conclusions. We interpret the forward- and reverse-drifting radio bursts as evidence of reconnection between the closed expanding magnetic structures of an erupting flux rope and ambient open magnetic field lines. We discuss the origin of relativistic particles near the Earth across two scenarios: (1) acceleration at the CME-driven shock as it intercepts interplanetary magnetic field lines rooted in the western solar hemisphere and (2) an alternative where the relativistic particles are initially confined in the erupting magnetic fields and get access to the open field lines to the Earth through these reconnection events.« less
  2. Abstract

    Coronal magnetic fields are well known to be one of the crucial parameters defining coronal physics and space weather. However, measuring the global coronal magnetic fields remains challenging. The polarization properties of coronal radio emissions are sensitive to coronal magnetic fields. While they can prove to be useful probes of coronal and heliospheric magnetic fields, their usage has been limited by technical and algorithmic challenges. We present a robust algorithm for precise polarization calibration and imaging of low-radio frequency solar observations and demonstrate it on data from the Murchison Widefield Array, a Square Kilometre Array (SKA) precursor. This algorithm is based on theMeasurement Equationframework, which forms the basis of all modern radio interferometric calibration and imaging. It delivers high-dynamic-range and high-fidelity full-Stokes solar radio images with instrumental polarization leakages <1%, on par with general astronomical radio imaging, and represents the state of the art. Opening up this rewarding, yet unexplored, phase space will enable multiple novel science investigations and offer considerable discovery potential. Examples include detection of low-level circular polarization from thermal coronal emission to estimate large-scale quiescent coronal fields; polarization of faint gyrosynchrotron emissions from coronal mass ejections for robust estimation of plasma parameters; and detection of themore »first-ever linear polarization at these frequencies. This method has been developed with the SKA in mind and will enable a new era of high-fidelity spectropolarimetric snapshot solar imaging at low radio frequencies.

    « less
  3. Context. Periodicities have frequently been reported across many wavelengths in the solar corona. Correlated periods of ~5 min, comparable to solar p -modes, are suggestive of coupling between the photosphere and the corona. Aims. Our study investigates whether there are correlations in the periodic behavior of Type III radio bursts which are indicative of nonthermal electron acceleration processes, and coronal extreme ultraviolet (EUV) emission used to assess heating and cooling in an active region when there are no large flares. Methods. We used coordinated observations of Type III radio bursts from the FIELDS instrument on Parker Solar Probe (PSP), of EUV emissions by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) and white light observations by SDO Helioseismic and Magnetic Image (HMI), and of solar flare X-rays by Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) on April 12, 2019. Several methods for assessing periodicities are utilized and compared to validate periods obtained. Results. Periodicities of ~5 min in the EUV in several areas of an active region are well correlated with the repetition rate of the Type III radio bursts observed on both PSP and Wind. Detrended 211 and 171 Å light curves show periodic profiles in multiple locations, with 171more »Å peaks sometimes lagging those seen in 211 Å. This is suggestive of impulsive events that result in heating and then cooling in the lower corona. NuSTAR X-rays provide evidence for at least one microflare during the interval of Type III bursts, but there is not a one-to-one correspondence between the X-rays and the Type III bursts. Our study provides evidence for periodic acceleration of nonthermal electrons (required to generate Type III radio bursts) when there were no observable flares either in the X-ray data or the EUV. The acceleration process, therefore, must be associated with small impulsive events, perhaps nanoflares.« less
  4. Context. Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are large eruptions of magnetised plasma from the Sun that are often accompanied by solar radio bursts produced by accelerated electrons. Aims. A powerful source for accelerating electron beams are CME-driven shocks, however, there are other mechanisms capable of accelerating electrons during a CME eruption. So far, studies have relied on the traditional classification of solar radio bursts into five groups (Type I–V) based mainly on their shapes and characteristics in dynamic spectra. Here, we aim to determine the origin of moving radio bursts associated with a CME that do not fit into the present classification of the solar radio emission. Methods. By using radio imaging from the Nançay Radioheliograph, combined with observations from the Solar Dynamics Observatory, Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, and Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory spacecraft, we investigate the moving radio bursts accompanying two subsequent CMEs on 22 May 2013. We use three-dimensional reconstructions of the two associated CME eruptions to show the possible origin of the observed radio emission. Results. We identified three moving radio bursts at unusually high altitudes in the corona that are located at the northern CME flank and move outwards synchronously with the CME. The radio bursts correspondmore »to fine-structured emission in dynamic spectra with durations of ∼1 s, and they may show forward or reverse frequency drifts. Since the CME expands closely following an earlier CME, a low coronal CME–CME interaction is likely responsible for the observed radio emission. Conclusions. For the first time, we report the existence of new types of short duration bursts, which are signatures of electron beams accelerated at the CME flank. Two subsequent CMEs originating from the same region and propagating in similar directions provide a complex configuration of the ambient magnetic field and favourable conditions for the creation of collapsing magnetic traps. These traps are formed if a CME-driven wave, such as a shock wave, is likely to intersect surrounding magnetic field lines twice. Electrons will thus be further accelerated at the mirror points created at these intersections and eventually escape to produce bursts of plasma emission with forward and reverse drifts.« less
  5. Context. Solar Orbiter, the new-generation mission dedicated to solar and heliospheric exploration, was successfully launched on February 10, 2020, 04:03 UTC from Cape Canaveral. During its first perihelion passage in June 2020, two successive interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs), propagating along the heliospheric current sheet (HCS), impacted the spacecraft. Aims. This paper addresses the investigation of the ICMEs encountered by Solar Orbiter on June 7−8, 2020, from both an observational and a modeling perspective. The aim is to provide a full description of those events, their mutual interaction, and their coupling with the ambient solar wind and the HCS. Methods. Data acquired by the MAG magnetometer, the Energetic Particle Detector suite, and the Radio and Plasma Waves instrument are used to provide information on the ICMEs’ magnetic topology configuration, their magnetic connectivity to the Sun, and insights into the heliospheric plasma environment where they travel, respectively. On the modeling side, the Heliospheric Upwind eXtrapolation model, the 3D COronal Rope Ejection technique, and the EUropean Heliospheric FORecasting Information Asset (EUHFORIA) tool are used to complement Solar Orbiter observations of the ambient solar wind and ICMEs, and to simulate the evolution and interaction of the ejecta in the inner heliosphere, respectively. Results.more »Both data analysis and numerical simulations indicate that the passage of two distinct, dynamically and magnetically interacting (via magnetic reconnection processes) ICMEs at Solar Orbiter is a possible scenario, supported by the numerous similarities between EUHFORIA time series at Solar Orbiter and Solar Orbiter data. Conclusions. The combination of in situ measurements and numerical simulations (together with remote sensing observations of the corona and inner heliosphere) will significantly lead to a deeper understanding of the physical processes occurring during the CME-CME interaction.« less