CORONAL LOOP EXPANSION PROPERTIES EXPLAINED USING SEPARATORS
Longcope, Dana W.
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One puzzling observed property of coronal loops is that they are of roughly constant thickness along their length. Various studies have found no consistent pattern of width variation along the length of loops observed by TRACE and SOHO. This is at odds with expectations of magnetic flux tube expansion properties, which suggests that loops are widest at their tops, and significantly narrower at their footpoints. Coronal loops correspond to areas of the solar corona which have been preferentially heated by some process, so this observed property might be connected to the mechanisms that heat the corona. One means of energy deposition is magnetic reconnection, which occurs along field lines called separators. These field lines begin and end on magnetic null points, and loops forming near them can therefore be relatively wide at their bases. Thus, coronal energization by magnetic reconnection may replicate the puzzling expansion properties observed in coronal loops. We present results of a Monte Carlo survey of separator field line expansion properties, comparing them to the observed properties of coronal loops.
Plowman, Joseph E., Charles C. Kankelborg, and Dana W. Longcope. “CORONAL LOOP EXPANSION PROPERTIES EXPLAINED USING SEPARATORS.” The Astrophysical Journal 706, no. 1 (October 27, 2009): 108–112. doi:10.1088/0004-637x/706/1/108.