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Title: Plasmoid-mediated reconnection in solar UV bursts

Abstract

Ultraviolet bursts are transients in the solar atmosphere with an increased impulsive emission in the extreme UV lasting for one to several tens of minutes. They often show spectral profiles indicative of a bi-directional outflow in response to magnetic reconnection. To understand UV bursts, we study how motions of magnetic elements at the surface can drive the self-consistent formation of a current sheet resulting in plasmoid-mediated reconnection. In particular, we want to study the role of the height of the reconnection in the atmosphere. We conducted numerical experiments solving the 2D magnetohydrodynamic equations from the solar surface to the upper atmosphere. Motivated by observations, we drove a small magnetic patch embedded in a larger system of magnetic field of opposite polarity. This type of configuration creates an X-type neutral point in the initial potential field. The models are characterized by the (average) plasma-β at the height of this X point. The driving at the surface stretches the X-point into a thin current sheet, where plasmoids appear, accelerating the reconnection, and a bi-directional jet forms. This is consistent with what is expected for UV bursts or explosive events, and we provide a self-consistent model of the formation of the reconnection regionmore » in such events. The gravitational stratification gives a natural explanation for why explosive events are restricted to a temperature range around a few 0.1 MK, and the presence of plasmoids in the reconnection process provides an understanding of the observed variability during the transient events on a timescale of minutes. Our numerical experiments provide a comprehensive understanding of UV bursts and explosive events, in particular of how the atmospheric response changes if the reconnection happens at different plasma-β, that is, at different heights in the atmosphere. This analysis also gives new insight into how UV bursts might be related to the photospheric Ellerman bombs.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [3]
  1. Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Gottingen (Germany)
  2. Max-Planck-Princeton Center for Plasma Physics, Princeton, NJ (United States); Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ (United States)
  3. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD (United States); Northumbria Univ., Newcastle Upon Tyne (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Princeton Univ., NJ (United States); Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; European Union (EU); National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Contributing Org.:
80NSSC18K1285; NNX15AF48G; AGS-1460169
OSTI Identifier:
1604409
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1557560
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0016470; 707837; NNX15AF48G; AGS-1460169
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 628; Journal ID: ISSN 0004-6361
Publisher:
EDP Sciences
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; 70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; Sun: magnetic fields; Sun: chromosphere; Sun: transition region; Sun: corona; magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)

Citation Formats

Peter, H., Huang, Y. -M., Chitta, L. P., and Young, P. R. Plasmoid-mediated reconnection in solar UV bursts. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201935820.
Peter, H., Huang, Y. -M., Chitta, L. P., & Young, P. R. Plasmoid-mediated reconnection in solar UV bursts. United States. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201935820
Peter, H., Huang, Y. -M., Chitta, L. P., and Young, P. R. Thu . "Plasmoid-mediated reconnection in solar UV bursts". United States. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201935820. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1604409.
@article{osti_1604409,
title = {Plasmoid-mediated reconnection in solar UV bursts},
author = {Peter, H. and Huang, Y. -M. and Chitta, L. P. and Young, P. R.},
abstractNote = {Ultraviolet bursts are transients in the solar atmosphere with an increased impulsive emission in the extreme UV lasting for one to several tens of minutes. They often show spectral profiles indicative of a bi-directional outflow in response to magnetic reconnection. To understand UV bursts, we study how motions of magnetic elements at the surface can drive the self-consistent formation of a current sheet resulting in plasmoid-mediated reconnection. In particular, we want to study the role of the height of the reconnection in the atmosphere. We conducted numerical experiments solving the 2D magnetohydrodynamic equations from the solar surface to the upper atmosphere. Motivated by observations, we drove a small magnetic patch embedded in a larger system of magnetic field of opposite polarity. This type of configuration creates an X-type neutral point in the initial potential field. The models are characterized by the (average) plasma-β at the height of this X point. The driving at the surface stretches the X-point into a thin current sheet, where plasmoids appear, accelerating the reconnection, and a bi-directional jet forms. This is consistent with what is expected for UV bursts or explosive events, and we provide a self-consistent model of the formation of the reconnection region in such events. The gravitational stratification gives a natural explanation for why explosive events are restricted to a temperature range around a few 0.1 MK, and the presence of plasmoids in the reconnection process provides an understanding of the observed variability during the transient events on a timescale of minutes. Our numerical experiments provide a comprehensive understanding of UV bursts and explosive events, in particular of how the atmospheric response changes if the reconnection happens at different plasma-β, that is, at different heights in the atmosphere. This analysis also gives new insight into how UV bursts might be related to the photospheric Ellerman bombs.},
doi = {10.1051/0004-6361/201935820},
journal = {Astronomy and Astrophysics},
number = ,
volume = 628,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {7}
}

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