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Title: Nanoflare activity in the solar chromosphere

We use ground-based images of high spatial and temporal resolution to search for evidence of nanoflare activity in the solar chromosphere. Through close examination of more than 1 × 10{sup 9} pixels in the immediate vicinity of an active region, we show that the distributions of observed intensity fluctuations have subtle asymmetries. A negative excess in the intensity fluctuations indicates that more pixels have fainter-than-average intensities compared with those that appear brighter than average. By employing Monte Carlo simulations, we reveal how the negative excess can be explained by a series of impulsive events, coupled with exponential decays, that are fractionally below the current resolving limits of low-noise equipment on high-resolution ground-based observatories. Importantly, our Monte Carlo simulations provide clear evidence that the intensity asymmetries cannot be explained by photon-counting statistics alone. A comparison to the coronal work of Terzo et al. suggests that nanoflare activity in the chromosphere is more readily occurring, with an impulsive event occurring every ∼360 s in a 10,000 km{sup 2} area of the chromosphere, some 50 times more events than a comparably sized region of the corona. As a result, nanoflare activity in the chromosphere is likely to play an important role in providingmore » heat energy to this layer of the solar atmosphere.« less
Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Astrophysics Research Centre, School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22370222
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 795; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASYMMETRY; CHROMOSPHERE; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; DISTRIBUTION; FLUCTUATIONS; IMAGES; LAYERS; MONTE CARLO METHOD; NOISE; PHOTONS; RESOLUTION; STATISTICS; SUN