Probing the physical connection between solar prominences and coronal rain

W. Liu, P. Antolin, X. Sun, J. C. Vial, L. Guo, S. E. Gibson, T. E. Berger, J. Okamoto, B. De Pontieu

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


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 SDO/AIA and IRIS, 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 broadline widths. As the prominence material descends to the arcade, it turns into coronal rain sliding down coronal loops with line widths 2-3 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) 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 physical implications of these observations beyond the phenomena of prominences and coronal rain.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2016
EventAGU Fall Meeting - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 12 Dec 201616 Dec 2016
Conference number: 43


ConferenceAGU Fall Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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