An empirical study of coronal observations at the solar limb
Freed, Michael Scott
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Solar observations were employed in this work to quantify motion and structures seen in the sun's corona with particular attention given to features found at the solar limb. These features consist of coronal magnetic-null points, quiescent prominences, and post flare eruption plasma sheets. Extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) observations from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft were used to determine the fidelity of the commonly used potential field source surface (PFSS) model for predicting the location of coronal magnetic-null-points. Several properties of the null points were also investigated to ascertain if they had any effect on their observability. Next, quiescent prominence observations from the Hinode/Solar Optical Telescope satellite were used to create velocity maps of the plasma found in these structures. The derived velocities provided insight into the vorticity, kinetic energy, and oscillations that reside in these prominences. Primarily, this investigation was concerned with determining the distribution of velocity and vorticity at different length scales by applying a power spectral density analysis. All of this information is intended to strengthen our understanding on how these prominences evolve and potentially become unstable. An identical analysis is then conducted on post-flare-eruption plasma sheets observed in EUV by the space based SDO and TRACE satellites. Investigating the dynamics that reside in these plasma sheets are crucial for understanding the conditions that trigger and accelerate the magnetic reconnection responsible for producing these energetic solar flares.