skip to main content

Title: Sustained Heating of the Chromosphere and Transition Region Over a Sunspot Light Bridge

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 supersonic more » 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
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 62
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. 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
  2. Context. Resistive Ohmic dissipation has been suggested as a mechanism for heating the solar chromosphere, but few studies have established this association. Aims. We aim to determine how Ohmic dissipation by electric currents can heat the solar chromosphere. Methods. We combine high-resolution spectroscopic Ca  II data from the Dunn Solar Telescope and vector magnetic field observations from the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) to investigate thermal enhancements in a sunspot light bridge. The photospheric magnetic field from HMI was extrapolated to the corona using a non-force-free field technique that provided the three-dimensional distribution of electric currents, while an inversion of the chromospheric Ca  II line with a local thermodynamic equilibrium and a nonlocal thermodynamic equilibrium spectral archive delivered the temperature stratifications from the photosphere to the chromosphere. Results. We find that the light bridge is a site of strong electric currents, of about 0.3 A m −2 at the bottom boundary, which extend to about 0.7 Mm while decreasing monotonically with height. These currents produce a chromospheric temperature excess of about 600−800 K relative to the umbra. Only the light bridge, where relatively weak and highly inclined magnetic fields emerge over a duration of 13 h, shows a spatial coincidencemore »of thermal enhancements and electric currents. The temperature enhancements and the Cowling heating are primarily confined to a height range of 0.4−0.7 Mm above the light bridge. The corresponding increase in internal energy of 200 J m −3 can be supplied by the heating in about 10 min. Conclusions. Our results provide direct evidence for currents heating the lower solar chromosphere through Ohmic dissipation.« less
  3. Context. Solar observations of carbon monoxide (CO) indicate the existence of lower-temperature gas in the lower solar chromosphere. We present an observation of pores, and quiet-Sun, and network magnetic field regions with CO 4.66 μm lines by the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrograph (CYRA) at Big Bear Solar Observatory. Aims. We used the strong CO lines at around 4.66 μm to understand the properties of the thermal structures of lower solar atmosphere in different solar features with various magnetic field strengths. Methods. Different observations with different instruments were included: CO 4.66 μm imaging spectroscopy by CYRA, Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) 1700 Å images, Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) continuum images, line-of-sight (LOS) magnetograms, and vector magnetograms. The data from 3D radiation magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation with the Bifrost code are also employed for the first time to be compared with the observation. We used the Rybicki-Hummer (RH) code to synthesize the CO line profiles in the network regions. Results. The CO 3-2 R14 line center intensity changes to be either enhanced or diminished with increasing magnetic field strength, which should be caused by different heating effects in magnetic flux tubes with different sizes. We find several “cold bubbles” in the CO 3-2 R14more »line center intensity images, which can be classified into two types. One type is located in the quiet-Sun regions without magnetic fields. The other type, which has rarely been reported in the past, is near or surrounded by magnetic fields. Notably, some are located at the edge of the magnetic network. The two kinds of cold bubbles and the relationship between cold bubble intensities and network magnetic field strength are both reproduced by the 3D MHD simulation with the Bifrost and RH codes. The simulation also shows that there is a cold plasma blob near the network magnetic fields, causing the observed cold bubbles seen in the CO 3-2 R14 line center image. Conclusions. Our observation and simulation illustrate that the magnetic field plays a vital role in the generation of some CO cold bubbles.« less
  4. Abstract We present both the observation and the magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulation of the M2.4 flare (SOL2017-07-14T02:09) of NOAA active region (AR) 12665 with a goal to identify its initiation mechanism. The observation by the Atmospheric Image Assembly (AIA) on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows that the major topology of the AR is a sigmoidal configuration associated with a filament/flux rope. A persistent emerging magnetic flux and the rotation of the sunspot in the core region were observed with Magnetic Imager (HMI) on board the SDO on the timescale of hours before and during the flare, which may provide free magnetic energy needed for the flare/coronal mass ejection (CME). A high-lying coronal loop is seen moving outward in AIA EUV passbands, which is immediately followed by the impulsive phase of the flare. We perform an MHD simulation using the potential magnetic field extrapolated from the measured pre-flare photospheric magnetic field as initial conditions and adopting the observed sunspot rotation and flux emergence as the driving boundary conditions. In our simulation, a sigmoidal magnetic structure and an overlying magnetic flux rope (MFR) form as a response to the imposed sunspot rotation, and the MFR rises to erupt like a CME.more »These simulation results in good agreement with the observation suggest that the formation of the MFR due to the sunspot rotation and the resulting torus and kink instabilities were essential to the initiation of this flare and the associated coronal mass ejection.« less
  5. Abstract

    Spectral lines formed at lower atmospheric layers show peculiar profiles at the “leading edge” of ribbons during solar flares. In particular, increased absorption of the BBSO/GST Heiλ10830 line, as well as broad and centrally reversed profiles in the spectra of the Mgiiand Ciilines observed by the IRIS satellite, has been reported. In this work, we aim to understand the physical origin of such peculiar IRIS profiles, which seem to be common of many, if not all, flares. To achieve this, we quantify the spectral properties of the IRIS Mgiiprofiles at the ribbon leading edge during four large flares and perform a detailed comparison with a grid of radiative hydrodynamic models using theRADYN+FPcode. We also studied their transition region (TR) counterparts, finding that these ribbon front locations are regions where TR emission and chromospheric evaporation are considerably weaker compared to other parts of the ribbons. Based on our comparison between the IRIS observations and modeling, our interpretation is that there are different heating regimes at play in the leading edge and the main bright part of the ribbons. More specifically, we suggest that bombardment of the chromosphere by more gradual and modest nonthermal electron energy fluxes can qualitatively explain themore »IRIS observations at the ribbon leading front, while stronger and more impulsive energy fluxes are required to drive chromospheric evaporation and more intense TR emission in the bright ribbon. Our results provide a possible physical origin for the peculiar behavior of the IRIS chromospheric lines in the ribbon leading edge and new constraints for the flare models.

    « less