skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Modeling properties of chromospheric evaporation driven by thermal conduction fronts from reconnection shocks

Abstract

Magnetic reconnection in the corona results in contracting flare loops, releasing energy into plasma heating and shocks. The hydrodynamic shocks produced in this manner drive thermal conduction fronts (TCFs) which transport energy into the chromosphere and drive upflows (evaporation) and downflows (condensation) in the cooler, denser footpoint plasma. Observations have revealed that certain properties of the transition point between evaporation and condensation (the 'flow reversal point' or FRP), such as temperature and velocity-temperature derivative at the FRP, vary between different flares. These properties may provide a diagnostic tool to determine parameters of the coronal energy release mechanism and the loop atmosphere. In this study, we develop a one-dimensional hydrodynamical flare loop model with a simplified three-region atmosphere (chromosphere/transition region/corona), with TCFs initiated by shocks introduced in the corona. We investigate the effect of two different flare loop parameters (post-shock temperature and transition region temperature ratio) on the FRP properties. We find that both of the evaporation characteristics have scaling-law relationships to the varied flare parameters, and we report the scaling exponents for our model. This provides a means of using spectroscopic observations of the chromosphere as quantitative diagnostics of flare energy release in the corona.

Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Department of Physics, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22365184
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 792; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CHROMOSPHERE; ENERGY TRANSFER; EVAPORATION; HEAT EXCHANGERS; HYDRODYNAMICS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; ONE-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS; PLASMA; PLASMA HEATING; POWER TRANSMISSION; SIMULATION; STELLAR CORONAE; SUN; THERMAL CONDUCTION; VELOCITY

Citation Formats

Brannon, Sean, and Longcope, Dana. Modeling properties of chromospheric evaporation driven by thermal conduction fronts from reconnection shocks. United States: N. p., 2014. Web. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/792/1/50.
Brannon, Sean, & Longcope, Dana. Modeling properties of chromospheric evaporation driven by thermal conduction fronts from reconnection shocks. United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/792/1/50.
Brannon, Sean, and Longcope, Dana. Mon . "Modeling properties of chromospheric evaporation driven by thermal conduction fronts from reconnection shocks". United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/792/1/50.
@article{osti_22365184,
title = {Modeling properties of chromospheric evaporation driven by thermal conduction fronts from reconnection shocks},
author = {Brannon, Sean and Longcope, Dana},
abstractNote = {Magnetic reconnection in the corona results in contracting flare loops, releasing energy into plasma heating and shocks. The hydrodynamic shocks produced in this manner drive thermal conduction fronts (TCFs) which transport energy into the chromosphere and drive upflows (evaporation) and downflows (condensation) in the cooler, denser footpoint plasma. Observations have revealed that certain properties of the transition point between evaporation and condensation (the 'flow reversal point' or FRP), such as temperature and velocity-temperature derivative at the FRP, vary between different flares. These properties may provide a diagnostic tool to determine parameters of the coronal energy release mechanism and the loop atmosphere. In this study, we develop a one-dimensional hydrodynamical flare loop model with a simplified three-region atmosphere (chromosphere/transition region/corona), with TCFs initiated by shocks introduced in the corona. We investigate the effect of two different flare loop parameters (post-shock temperature and transition region temperature ratio) on the FRP properties. We find that both of the evaporation characteristics have scaling-law relationships to the varied flare parameters, and we report the scaling exponents for our model. This provides a means of using spectroscopic observations of the chromosphere as quantitative diagnostics of flare energy release in the corona.},
doi = {10.1088/0004-637X/792/1/50},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
number = 1,
volume = 792,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Sep 01 00:00:00 EDT 2014},
month = {Mon Sep 01 00:00:00 EDT 2014}
}
  • In models of fast magnetic reconnection, flux transfer occurs within a small portion of a current sheet triggering stored magnetic energy to be thermalized by shocks. When the initial current sheet separates magnetic fields which are not perfectly anti-parallel, i.e., they are skewed, magnetic energy is first converted to bulk kinetic energy and then thermalized in slow magnetosonic shocks. We show that the latter resemble parallel shocks or hydrodynamic shocks for all skew angles except those very near the anti-parallel limit. As for parallel shocks, the structures of reconnection-driven slow shocks are best studied using two-fluid equations in which ionsmore » and electrons have independent temperature. Time-dependent solutions of these equations can be used to predict and understand the shocks from reconnection of skewed magnetic fields. The results differ from those found using a single-fluid model such as magnetohydrodynamics. In the two-fluid model, electrons are heated indirectly and thus carry a heat flux always well below the free-streaming limit. The viscous stress of the ions is, however, typically near the fluid-treatable limit. We find that for a wide range of skew angles and small plasma {beta} an electron conduction front extends ahead of the slow shock but remains within the outflow jet. In such cases, conduction will play a more limited role in driving chromospheric evaporation than has been predicted based on single-fluid, anti-parallel models.« less
  • Observations of gentle chromospheric evaporation during the cooling phase of a solar flare are presented. Line profiles of the low-temperature (T of about 6 x 10 to the 6th K) coronal Mg XI line, observed with the X-Ray Polychromator on the Solar Maximum Mission, show a blueshift that persisted for several minutes after the impulsive heating phase. This result represents the first detection of an evaporation signature in a soft X-ray line formed at this low temperature. By combining the Mg XI blueshift velocity data with simultaneous measurements of the flare temperature derived from Ca XIX observations, it is demonstratedmore » that the upward flux of enthalpy transported by this gently evaporating plasma varies linearly with the downward flux of thermal energy conducted from the corona. This relationship is consistent with models of solar flares in which thermal conduction drives chromospheric evaporation during the early part of the cooling phase. 22 references.« less
  • We present a model for plasma heating produced by time-dependent, spatially localized reconnection within a flare current sheet separating skewed magnetic fields. The reconnection creates flux tubes of new connectivity which subsequently retract at Alfvenic speeds from the reconnection site. Heating occurs in gas-dynamic shocks (GDSs) which develop inside these tubes. Here we present generalized thin flux tube equations for the dynamics of reconnected flux tubes, including pressure-driven parallel dynamics as well as temperature-dependent, anisotropic viscosity and thermal conductivity. The evolution of tubes embedded in a uniform, skewed magnetic field, following reconnection in a patch, is studied through numerical solutionsmore » of these equations, for solar coronal conditions. Even though viscosity and thermal conductivity are negligible in the quiet solar corona, the strong GDSs generated by compressing plasma inside reconnected flux tubes generate large velocity and temperature gradients along the tube, rendering the diffusive processes dominant. They determine the thickness of the shock that evolves up to a steady state value, although this condition may not be reached in the short times involved in a flare. For realistic solar coronal parameters, this steady state shock thickness might be as long as the entire flux tube. For strong shocks at low Prandtl numbers, typical of the solar corona, the GDS consists of an isothermal sub-shock where all the compression and cooling occur, preceded by a thermal front where the temperature increases and most of the heating occurs. We estimate the length of each of these sub-regions and the speed of their propagation.« less
  • The dynamics of hot chromospheric plasma of solar flares is a key to understanding the mechanisms of flare energy release and particle acceleration. A moderate M1.0 class flare of 2014 June 12, (SOL2014-06-12T21:12) was simultaneously observed by NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) and other spacecraft, and also by the New Solar Telescope at the BBSO. This paper presents the first part of our investigation focused on analysis of the IRIS data. Our analysis of the IRIS data in different spectral lines reveals a strong redshifted jet-like flow with a speed of ∼100 km s{sup −1} of the chromospheric material beforemore » the flare. Strong nonthermal emission of the C ii k 1334.5 Å line, formed in the chromosphere–corona transition region, is observed at the beginning of the impulsive phase in several small (with a size of ∼1″) points. It is also found that the C ii k line is redshifted across the flaring region before, during, and after the impulsive phase. A peak of integrated emission of the hot (1.1 · 10{sup 7} K) plasma in the Fe xxi 1354.1 Å line is detected approximately five minutes after the integrated emission peak of the lower temperature C ii k. A strong blueshift of the Fe xxi line across the flaring region corresponds to evaporation flows of the hot chromospheric plasma with a speed of 50 km s{sup −1}. Additional analysis of the RHESSI data supports the idea that the upper chromospheric dynamics observed by IRIS has features of “gentle” evaporation driven by heating of the solar chromosphere by accelerated electrons and by a heat flux from the flare energy release site.« less
  • Magnetic reconnection is believed to be the dominant energy release mechanism in solar flares. The standard flare model predicts both downward and upward outflow plasmas with speeds close to the coronal Alfvén speed. Yet, spectroscopic observations of such outflows, especially the downflows, are extremely rare. With observations of the newly launched Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), we report the detection of a greatly redshifted (∼125 km s{sup –1} along the line of sight) Fe XXI 1354.08 Å emission line with a ∼100 km s{sup –1} nonthermal width at the reconnection site of a flare. The redshifted Fe XXI feature coincidesmore » spatially with the loop-top X-ray source observed by RHESSI. We interpret this large redshift as the signature of downward-moving reconnection outflow/hot retracting loops. Imaging observations from both IRIS and the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory also reveal the eruption and reconnection processes. Fast downward-propagating blobs along these loops are also found from cool emission lines (e.g., Si IV, O IV, C II, Mg II) and images of AIA and IRIS. Furthermore, the entire Fe XXI line is blueshifted by ∼260 km s{sup –1} at the loop footpoints, where the cool lines mentioned above all exhibit obvious redshift, a result that is consistent with the scenario of chromospheric evaporation induced by downward-propagating nonthermal electrons from the reconnection site.« less