skip to main content

Title: Evidence of the multi-thermal nature of spicular downflows: Impact on solar atmospheric heating
Context. Spectroscopic observations of the emission lines formed in the solar transition region commonly show persistent downflows on the order of 10−15 km s −1 . The cause of such downflows, however, is still not fully clear and has remained a matter of debate. Aims. We aim to understand the cause of such downflows by studying the coronal and transition region responses to the recently reported chromospheric downflowing rapid redshifted excursions (RREs) and their impact on the heating of the solar atmosphere. Methods. We have used two sets of coordinated data from the Swedish 1 m Solar Telescope, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, and the Solar Dynamics Observatory for analyzing the response of the downflowing RREs in the transition region and corona. To provide theoretical support, we use an already existing 2.5D magnetohydrodynamic simulation of spicules performed with the Bifrost code. Results. We find ample occurrences of downflowing RREs and show several examples of their spatio-temporal evolution, sampling multiple wavelength channels ranging from the cooler chromospheric to the hotter coronal channels. These downflowing features are thought to be likely associated with the returning components of the previously heated spicular plasma. Furthermore, the transition region Doppler shifts associated with them are more » close to the average redshifts observed in this region, which further implies that these flows could (partly) be responsible for the persistent downflows observed in the transition region. We also propose two mechanisms – (i) a typical upflow followed by a downflow and (ii) downflows along a loop –from the perspective of a numerical simulation that could explain the ubiquitous occurrence of such downflows. A detailed comparison between the synthetic and observed spectral characteristics reveals a distinctive match and further suggests an impact on the heating of the solar atmosphere. Conclusions. We present evidence that suggests that at least some of the downflowing RREs are the chromospheric counterparts of the transition region and lower coronal downflows. « less
; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Astronomy & Astrophysics
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Sunspot light bridges (LBs) exhibit a wide range of short-lived phenomena in the chromosphere and transition region. In contrast, we use here data from the Multi-Application Solar Telescope (MAST), the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), Hinode, the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), and the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) to analyze the sustained heating over days in an LB in a regular sunspot. Chromospheric temperatures were retrieved from the MAST Caiiand IRIS Mgiilines by nonlocal thermodynamic equilibrium inversions. Line widths, Doppler shifts, and intensities were derived from the IRIS lines using Gaussian fits. Coronal temperatures were estimated through the differential emission measure, while the coronal magnetic field was obtained from an extrapolation of the HMI vector field. At the photosphere, the LB exhibits a granular morphology with field strengths of about 400 G and no significant electric currents. The sunspot does not fragment, and the LB remains stable for several days. The chromospheric temperature, IRIS line intensities and widths, and AIA 171 and 211 Å intensities are all enhanced in the LB with temperatures from 8000 K to 2.5 MK. Photospheric plasma motions remain small, while the chromosphere and transition region indicate predominantly redshifts of 5–20 km s−1with occasional supersonicmore »downflows exceeding 100 km s−1. The excess thermal energy over the LB is about 3.2 × 1026erg and matches the radiative losses. It could be supplied by magnetic flux loss of the sunspot (7.5 × 1027erg), kinetic energy from the increase in the LB width (4 × 1028erg), or freefall of mass along the coronal loops (6.3 × 1026erg).

    « less
  2. Context. We investigate the chromospheric counterpart of small-scale coronal loops constituting a coronal bright point (CBP) and its response to a photospheric magnetic-flux increase accompanied by co-temporal CBP heating. Aims. The aim of this study is to simultaneously investigate the chromospheric and coronal layers associated with a CBP, and in so doing, provide further understanding on the heating of plasmas confined in small-scale loops. Methods. We used co-observations from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly and Helioseismic Magnetic Imager on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory, together with data from the Fast Imaging Solar Spectrograph taken in the H α and Ca  II 8542.1 Å lines. We also employed both linear force-free and potential field extrapolation models to investigate the magnetic topology of the CBP loops and the overlying corona, respectively. We used a new multi-layer spectral inversion technique to derive the temporal variations of the temperature of the H α loops (HLs). Results. We find that the counterpart of the CBP, as seen at chromospheric temperatures, is composed of a bundle of dark elongated features named in this work H α loops, which constitute an integral part of the CBP loop magnetic structure. An increase in the photospheric magnetic flux due tomore »flux emergence is accompanied by a rise of the coronal emission of the CBP loops, that is a heating episode. We also observe enhanced chromospheric activity associated with the occurrence of new HLs and mottles. While the coronal emission and magnetic flux increases appear to be co-temporal, the response of the H α counterpart of the CBP occurs with a small delay of less than 3 min. A sharp temperature increase is found in one of the HLs and in one of the CBP footpoints estimated at 46% and 55% with respect to the pre-event values, also starting with a delay of less than 3 min following the coronal heating episode. The low-lying CBP loop structure remains non-potential for the entire observing period. The magnetic topological analysis of the overlying corona reveals the presence of a coronal null point at the beginning and towards the end of the heating episode. Conclusions. The delay in the response of the chromospheric counterpart of the CBP suggests that the heating may have occurred at coronal heights.« less
  3. Abstract In this paper, we report the observed temporal correlation between extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) emission and magneto-acoustic oscillations in an EUV moss region, which is the footpoint region only connected by magnetic loops with million-degree plasma. The result is obtained from a detailed multi-wavelength data analysis of the region with the purpose of resolving fine-scale mass and energy flows that come from the photosphere, pass through the chromosphere and finally heat the solar transition region or the corona. The data set covers three atmospheric levels on the Sun, consisting of high-resolution broad-band imaging at TiO 7057 Å and the line of sight magnetograms for the photosphere, high-resolution narrow-band images at helium i 10830 Å for the chromosphere and EUV images at 171 Å for the corona. The 10830 Å narrow-band images and the TiO 7057 Å broad-band images are from a much earlier observation on 2012 July 22 with the 1.6 meter aperture Goode Solar Telescope (GST) at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) and the EUV 171 Å images and the magnetograms are from observations made by Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) or Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). We report the following new phenomena: (1) Repeatedmore »injections of chromospheric material appearing as 10830 Å absorption are squirted out from inter-granular lanes with a period of ∼ 5 minutes. (2) EUV emissions are found to be periodically modulated with similar periods of ∼ 5 minutes. (3) Around the injection area where 10830 Å absorption is enhanced, both EUV emissions and strength of the magnetic field are remarkably stronger. (4) The peaks on the time profile of the EUV emissions are found to be in sync with oscillatory peaks of the stronger magnetic field in the region. These findings may give a series of strong evidences supporting the scenario that coronal heating is powered by magneto-acoustic waves.« less
  4. Abstract Magnetars, isolated neutron stars with magnetic-field strengths typically ≳10 14 G, exhibit distinctive months-long outburst epochs during which strong evolution of soft X-ray pulse profiles, along with nonthermal magnetospheric emission components, is often observed. Using near-daily NICER observations of the magnetar SGR 1830-0645 during the first 37 days of a recent outburst decay, a pulse peak migration in phase is clearly observed, transforming the pulse shape from an initially triple-peaked to a single-peaked profile. Such peak merging has not been seen before for a magnetar. Our high-resolution phase-resolved spectroscopic analysis reveals no significant evolution of temperature despite the complex initial pulse shape, yet the inferred surface hot spots shrink during peak migration and outburst decay. We suggest two possible origins for this evolution. For internal heating of the surface, tectonic motion of the crust may be its underlying cause. The inferred speed of this crustal motion is ≲100 m day −1 , constraining the density of the driving region to ρ ∼ 10 10 g cm −3 , at a depth of ∼200 m. Alternatively, the hot spots could be heated by particle bombardment from a twisted magnetosphere possessing flux tubes or ropes, somewhat resembling solar coronal loops, thatmore »untwist and dissipate on the 30–40 day timescale. The peak migration may then be due to a combination of field-line footpoint motion (necessarily driven by crustal motion) and evolving surface radiation beaming. This novel data set paints a vivid picture of the dynamics associated with magnetar outbursts, yet it also highlights the need for a more generic theoretical picture where magnetosphere and crust are considered in tandem.« less
  5. Abstract This work analyzes the Hall magnetohydrodynamics (HMHD) and magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) numerical simulations of a flaring solar active region as a test bed while idealizing the coronal Alfvén speed to be less by two orders of magnitude. HMHD supports faster magnetic reconnection and shows richer complexity in magnetic field line evolution compared to the MHD. The magnetic reconnections triggering the flare are explored by numerical simulations augmented with relevant multiwavelength observations. The initial coronal magnetic field is constructed by non-force-free extrapolation of photospheric vector magnetic field. Magnetic structure involved in the flare is identified to be a flux rope, with its overlying magnetic field lines constituting the quasi-separatrix layers (QSLs) along with a three-dimensional null point and a null line. Compared to the MHD simulation, the HMHD simulation shows a higher and faster ascent of the rope together with the overlying field lines, which further reconnect at the QSL located higher up in the corona. The footpoints of the field lines match better with the observations for the HMHD case, with the central part of the flare ribbon located at the chromosphere. Additionally, field lines are found to rotate in a circular pattern in the HMHD, whereas no such rotationmore »is seen in the MHD results. Interestingly, plasma is also observed to be rotating in a cospatial chromospheric region, which makes the HMHD simulation more credible. Based on the aforementioned agreements, HMHD simulation is found to agree better with observations and thus opens up a novel avenue to explore.« less