IRIS observations of a novel, hybrid prominence-coronal rain complex

Wei Liu, Patrick Antolin, Xudong Sun

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


Solar prominences and coronal rain are intimately related phenomena,both involving cool material at chromospheric temperatures within the hot corona and both playing important roles as part of the return flow of the chromosphere-corona mass cycle. At the same time, they exhibit distinct morphologies and dynamics not yet well understood. Quiescent prominences consist of numerous long-lasting, filamentary downflow threads, while coronal rain is more transient and falls comparably faster along well-defined curved paths. We report here a novel, hybrid prominence-coronal rain complex in an arcade-fan geometry observed by IRIS and SDO/AIA, which provides new insights to the underlying physics of such contrasting behaviors. We found that the supra-arcade fan region hosts a prominence sheet consisting of meandering threads with broad Mg II k/h line widths. As the prominence material descends to the arcade,it turns into coronal rain sliding down coronal loops with line widths2-3 times narrower. This contrast suggests that distinct local plasma and magnetic conditions determine the fate of the cool material, a scenario supported by our magnetic field extrapolations from SDO/HMI. Specifically, the supra-arcade fan (similar to those in solar flares;e.g., McKenzie 2013) is likely situated in a current sheet, where the magnetic field is weak and the plasma-beta could be close to unity, thus favoring turbulent flows like those prominence threads. In contrast, the underlying arcade has a stronger magnetic field and most likely a low-beta environment, such that the material is guided along magnetic field lines to appear as coronal rain. We will discuss the implications of these novel results for future observations e.g., with DKIST.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2016
EventSPD Meeting 2016 - Boulder, Colorado, United States
Duration: 31 May 20163 Jun 2016
Conference number: 47


ConferenceSPD Meeting 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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