Coronal heating at separators and separatrices

Eric Ronald Priest, D W Longcope, J Heyvaerts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Several ways have been proposed for heating the solar corona by magnetic reconnection in current sheets, depending on the nature of both the coronal magnetic field and the photospheric driving. Two ways that have recently been considered involve the formation of such current sheets either along separatrices ( surfaces that separate topologically distinct regions) or along separators ( intersections of separatrices linking one null point to another). The effect of slow photospheric motions on complex coronal magnetic configurations will in general be to generate three forms of electric current, namely, nonsingular distributed currents, singular currents on separatrices and singular currents on separators. These currents are not mutually exclusive but will in general coexist in the same configuration. The aim of this paper is to compare energy storage and heating that occurs at separatrices and separators. We use reduced MHD to model coronal loops that are much longer than they are wide, and we construct a series of examples for the formation of current sheets along separatrices and separators. We deduce that coronal heating is of comparable importance at separatrices and separators. Separatrices are twice as effective for observed small footpoint motions, while separators are twice as effective in the initial build-up of a new flux domain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1057-1071
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume624
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2005

Keywords

  • magnetic fields
  • MHD
  • plasmas
  • Sun : corona
  • Sun : magnetic fields
  • RAY BRIGHT POINTS
  • 3-DIMENSIONAL NULL POINTS
  • CURRENT SHEET FORMATION
  • MAGNETIC-FIELDS
  • SOLAR CORONA
  • FLUX TUBES
  • RECONNECTION
  • MODEL
  • CANCELLATION
  • DISSIPATION

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