The coronal heating problem
The heating of the solar corona has been investigated during four of decades and several mechanisms able to produce heating have been proposed. It has until now not been possible to produce quantitative estimates that would establish any of these heating mechanism as the most important in the solar corona. In order to investigate which heating mechanism is the most important, a more detailed approach is needed.In this thesis, the heating problem is approached ”ab initio”, using well observed facts and including realistic physics in a 3D magneto-hydrodynamic simulation of a small part of the solar atmosphere. The ”engine” of the heating mechanism is the solar photospheric velocity field, that braids the magnetic field into a configuration where energy has to be dissipated. The initial magnetic field is taken from an observation of a typical magnetic active region scaled down to fit inside the computational domain. The driving velocity field is generated by an algorithm that reproduces the statistical and geometrical fingerprints of solar granulation. Using a standard model atmosphere as the thermal initial condition, the simulation goes through a short startup phase, where the initial thermal stratification is quickly forgotten, after which the simulation stabilizes in statistical equilibrium. In this state, the magnetic field is able to dissipate the same amount of energy as is estimated to be lost through radiation, which is the main energy loss mechanism in the solar corona.The simulation produces heating that is intermittent on the smallest resolved scales and hot loops similar to those observed through narrow band filters in the ultra violet. Other observed characteristics of the heating are reproduced, as well as a coronal temperature of roughly one million K. Because of the ab initio approach, the amount of heating produced in these simulations represents a lower limit to coronal heating and the conclusion is that such heating of the corona is unavoidable.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Physics; Astronomy and astrophysics; Solen; Corona; Magneto hydro dynamik
Date of Publication:01/01/2004