Coronal heating and nanoflares: current sheet formation and heating

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Aims: Solar photospheric footpoint motions can produce strong, localised currents in the corona. A detailed understanding of the formation process and the resulting heating is important in modelling nanoflares, as a mechanism for heating the solar corona. Methods: A 3D MHD simulation is described in which an initially straight magnetic field is sheared in two directions. Grid resolutions up to 5123 were used and two boundary drivers were considered; one where the boundaries are continuously driven and one where the driving is switched off once a current layer is formed. Results: For both drivers a twisted current layer is formed. After a long time we see that, when the boundary driving has been switched off, the system relaxes towards a lower energy equilibrium. For the driver which continuously shears the magnetic field we see a repeating cycle of strong current structures forming, fragmenting and decreasing in magnitude and then building up again. Realistic coronal temperatures are obtained.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA89
Number of pages14
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • Magnetic reconnection
  • Corona


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