Reconnection nanojets in the solar corona
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The solar corona is shaped and mysteriously heated to millions of degrees by the Sun’s magnetic field. It has long been hypothesized that the heating results from a myriad of tiny magnetic energy outbursts called nanoflares, driven by the fundamental process of magnetic reconnection. Misaligned magnetic field lines can break and reconnect, producing nanoflares in avalanche-like processes. However, no direct and unique observations of such nanoflares exist to date, and the lack of a smoking gun has cast doubt on the possibility of solving the coronal heating problem. From coordinated multi-band high-resolution observations, we report on the discovery of very fast and bursty nanojets, the telltale signature of reconnection-based nanoflares resulting in coronal heating. Using state-of-the-art numerical simulations, we demonstrate that the nanojet is a consequence of the slingshot effect from the magnetically tensed, curved magnetic field lines reconnecting at small angles. Nanojets are therefore the key signature of reconnection-based coronal heating in action.
Antolin , P , Pagano , P , Testa , P , Petralia , A & Reale , F 2020 , ' Reconnection nanojets in the solar corona ' , Nature Astronomy . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-020-1199-8
Copyright © 2020 the Author(s). This work has been made available online in accordance with publisher policies or with permission. Permission for further reuse of this content should be sought from the publisher or the rights holder. This is the author created accepted manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-020-1199-8.
DescriptionP.A. acknowledges STFC support from grant numbers ST/R004285/2 and ST/T000384/1 and support from the International Space Science Institute, Bern, Switzerland to the International Teams on ‘Implications for coronal heating and magnetic fields from coronal rain observations and modeling’ and ‘Observed Multi-Scale Variability of Coronal Loops as a Probe of Coronal Heating’. This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no. 647214). P.T. was also supported by contracts 8100002705 and SP02H1701R from Lockheed-Martin to the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), and NASA contract NNM07AB07C to the SAO.
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