The solar extreme ultra-violet corona : resolved loops and the unresolved active region corona
Cirtain, Jonathan Wesley
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In this work, physical characteristics of the solar corona as observed in the Extreme Ultra-Violet (EUV) regime are investigated. The focus will be the regions of intense EUV radiation generally found near the locations of sunspots. These regions are commonly called active regions. Multiple space-based observing platforms have been deployed in the last decade; it is possible to use several of these observatories in combination to develop a more complete picture of the solar corona. Joint Observing Program 146 was created to collect spectroscopic intensities using the Coronal Diagnostic Spectrometer on Solar and Heliospheric Observatory and EUV images using NASA's Transition Region and Coronal Explorer. The emission line intensities are analyzed to develop an understanding of the temperature and density of the active region coronal plasma. However, the performance of the CDS instrument in the spatial and temporal domains is limited and to compensate for these limitations, data collected by the TRACE instrument provide a high spatial and temporal resolution set of observations. One of the most exciting unsolved problems in solar astrophysics is to understand why the corona maintains a temperature roughly two orders of magnitude higher than the underlying material. A detailed investigation of the coronal emission has provided constraints on models of the heating mechanism, since the temperature density and evolution of emission rates for multiple ionic species are indicative of the mechanism(s) working to heat the corona. The corona appears to consist of multiple unresolved structures as well as resolved active region structures, called coronal loops. The purpose of the present work is to determine the characteristics of the unresolved background corona. Using the characterizations of the coronal unresolved background, results for loops after background subtraction are also presented. This work demonstrates the magnitude of the unresolved coronal emission with respect to the total emission along the line of sight, and the relationship of the coronal background emission to the resolved loop emission. It is apparent from this analysis that the unresolved corona is the dominant source of radiation in active regions. Additionally, the unresolved active region coronal emission can be characterized by hydrostatic scaling laws.