The storage and dissipation of magnetic energy in the quiet sun corona determined from SDO/HMI magnetograms

Karen A. Meyer, J. Sabol, D. H. Mackay, A. A. van Ballegooijen

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Abstract

In recent years, higher cadence, higher resolution observations have revealed the quiet-Sun photosphere to be complex and rapidly evolving. Since magnetic fields anchored in the photosphere extend up into the solar corona, it is expected that the small-scale coronal magnetic field exhibits similar complexity. For the first time, the quiet-Sun coronal magnetic field is continuously evolved through a series of non-potential, quasi-static equilibria, deduced from magnetograms observed by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory, where the photospheric boundary condition which drives the coronal evolution exactly reproduces the observed magnetograms. The build-up, storage, and dissipation of magnetic energy within the simulations is studied. We find that the free magnetic energy built up and stored within the field is sufficient to explain small-scale, impulsive events such as nanoflares. On comparing with coronal images of the same region, the energy storage and dissipation visually reproduces many of the observed features. The results indicate that the complex small-scale magnetic evolution of a large number of magnetic features is a key element in explaining the nature of the solar corona.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberL18
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume770
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2013

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magnetic signatures
coronas
corona
dissipation
sun
solar corona
photosphere
magnetic field
magnetic fields
energy
helioseismology
energy storage
energy dissipation
observatories
boundary condition
observatory
boundary conditions
high resolution
simulation

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title = "The storage and dissipation of magnetic energy in the quiet sun corona determined from SDO/HMI magnetograms",
abstract = "In recent years, higher cadence, higher resolution observations have revealed the quiet-Sun photosphere to be complex and rapidly evolving. Since magnetic fields anchored in the photosphere extend up into the solar corona, it is expected that the small-scale coronal magnetic field exhibits similar complexity. For the first time, the quiet-Sun coronal magnetic field is continuously evolved through a series of non-potential, quasi-static equilibria, deduced from magnetograms observed by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory, where the photospheric boundary condition which drives the coronal evolution exactly reproduces the observed magnetograms. The build-up, storage, and dissipation of magnetic energy within the simulations is studied. We find that the free magnetic energy built up and stored within the field is sufficient to explain small-scale, impulsive events such as nanoflares. On comparing with coronal images of the same region, the energy storage and dissipation visually reproduces many of the observed features. The results indicate that the complex small-scale magnetic evolution of a large number of magnetic features is a key element in explaining the nature of the solar corona.",
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The storage and dissipation of magnetic energy in the quiet sun corona determined from SDO/HMI magnetograms. / Meyer, Karen A.; Sabol, J.; Mackay, D. H.; van Ballegooijen, A. A.

In: Astrophysical Journal Letters, Vol. 770, No. 2, L18, 30.05.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The storage and dissipation of magnetic energy in the quiet sun corona determined from SDO/HMI magnetograms

AU - Meyer, Karen A.

AU - Sabol, J.

AU - Mackay, D. H.

AU - van Ballegooijen, A. A.

PY - 2013/5/30

Y1 - 2013/5/30

N2 - In recent years, higher cadence, higher resolution observations have revealed the quiet-Sun photosphere to be complex and rapidly evolving. Since magnetic fields anchored in the photosphere extend up into the solar corona, it is expected that the small-scale coronal magnetic field exhibits similar complexity. For the first time, the quiet-Sun coronal magnetic field is continuously evolved through a series of non-potential, quasi-static equilibria, deduced from magnetograms observed by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory, where the photospheric boundary condition which drives the coronal evolution exactly reproduces the observed magnetograms. The build-up, storage, and dissipation of magnetic energy within the simulations is studied. We find that the free magnetic energy built up and stored within the field is sufficient to explain small-scale, impulsive events such as nanoflares. On comparing with coronal images of the same region, the energy storage and dissipation visually reproduces many of the observed features. The results indicate that the complex small-scale magnetic evolution of a large number of magnetic features is a key element in explaining the nature of the solar corona.

AB - In recent years, higher cadence, higher resolution observations have revealed the quiet-Sun photosphere to be complex and rapidly evolving. Since magnetic fields anchored in the photosphere extend up into the solar corona, it is expected that the small-scale coronal magnetic field exhibits similar complexity. For the first time, the quiet-Sun coronal magnetic field is continuously evolved through a series of non-potential, quasi-static equilibria, deduced from magnetograms observed by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory, where the photospheric boundary condition which drives the coronal evolution exactly reproduces the observed magnetograms. The build-up, storage, and dissipation of magnetic energy within the simulations is studied. We find that the free magnetic energy built up and stored within the field is sufficient to explain small-scale, impulsive events such as nanoflares. On comparing with coronal images of the same region, the energy storage and dissipation visually reproduces many of the observed features. The results indicate that the complex small-scale magnetic evolution of a large number of magnetic features is a key element in explaining the nature of the solar corona.

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