An Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph First View on Solar Spicules
De Pontieu, Bart
Title, Alan M.
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Solar spicules have eluded modelers and observers for decades. Since the discovery of the more energetic type II, spicules have become a heated topic but their contribution to the energy balance of the low solar atmosphere remains unknown. Here we give a first glimpse of what quietSun spicules look like when observed with NASA's recently launched Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS). Using IRIS spectra and filtergrams that sample the chromosphere and transition region, we compare the properties and evolution of spicules as observed in a coordinated campaign with Hinode and the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly. Our IRIS observations allow us to follow the thermal evolution of type II spicules and finally confirm that the fading of Ca II H spicules appears to be caused by rapid heating to higher temperatures. The IRIS spicules do not fade but continue evolving, reaching higher and falling back down after 500800 s. Ca II H type II spicules are thus the initial stages of violent and hotter events that mostly remain invisible in Ca II H filtergrams. These events have very different properties from type I spicules, which show lower velocities and no fading from chromospheric passbands. The IRIS spectra of spicules show the same signature as their proposed disk counterparts, reinforcing earlier work. Spectroheliograms from spectral rasters also confirm that quietSun spicules originate in bushes from the magnetic network. Our results suggest that type II spicules are indeed the site of vigorous heating (to at least transition region temperatures) along extensive parts of the upward moving spicular plasma.
Pereira, T. M. D., B. De Pontieu, M. Carlsson, V. Hansteen, T. D. Tarbell, J. Lemen, A. Title, et al. “An Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph First View on Solar Spicules” The Astrophysical Journal Letters 792, no. 1 (August 19, 2014): L15. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/792/1/l15.