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Title: RECONNECTION-DRIVEN DOUBLE LAYERS IN THE STRATIFIED PLASMA OF THE SOLAR TRANSITION REGION: SUPPLY OF HOT PLASMA INTO THE CORONA

A novel mechanism for the supply of hot plasma into the corona from the chromosphere is suggested here; the mechanism involves collisionless magnetic reconnection (CMR) in the transition region (TR) followed by double layer (DL) formation in the enhanced expansion of the chromospheric cold plasma mixed with CMR-heated hot electrons. It is well known that (i) the CMR produces energetic electrons and (ii) DLs naturally form in expanding dense plasmas containing a minor population of hot electrons. We apply these plasma physics facts to the dynamics of stratified plasma in the TR. In the TR where densities fall below ∼10{sup 16} m{sup −3}, all collisional mean-free paths, electron–ion, ion–neutral, and electron–neutral, become long enough to render plasma collisionless at kinetic scale lengths, making CMR and DL formation possible. The DLs accelerate the chromospheric cold ions to energies comparable to the energy of the hot electrons. When the upflowing energized ions neutralized by the escaping hot electrons thermalize, the resulting hot tenuous plasma supplies an energy flux ∼3 × 10{sup 5} erg cm{sup −2} s{sup −1} = 3 × 10{sup 2} J m{sup −2} s{sup −1} into the corona. The CMR–DL mechanism introduces sudden transitions in the TR as microstructures inmore » both density and energy. The global transition in the TR could be a fractal structure containing such microscopic features. If not impossible, it is difficult to measure such microstructures, but it seems that the coronal heating begins in the nearly collisionless TR by CMR and DL formation.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL 35899 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518899
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 810; 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; COLD PLASMA; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; DENSITY; ELECTRON-ION COLLISIONS; FRACTALS; HOT PLASMA; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; MEAN FREE PATH; MICROSTRUCTURE; SOLAR CORONA; SUN; TAIL ELECTRONS