Active region emission measure distributions and implications for nanoflare heating
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The temperature dependence of the emission measure (EM) in the core of active regions coronal loops is an important diagnostic of heating processes. Observations indicate that EM(T) ~ T a below approximately 4 MK, with 2 < a < 5. Zero-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations of nanoflare trains are used to demonstrate the dependence of a on the time between individual nanoflares (NT) and the distribution of nanoflare energies. If TN is greater than a few thousand seconds, a < 3. For smaller values, trains of equally spaced nanoflares cannot account for the observed range of a if the distribution of nanoflare energies is either constant, randomly distributed, or a power law. Power law distributions where there is a delay between consecutive nanoflares proportional to the energy of the second nanoflare do lead to the observed range of a. However, TN must then be of the order of hundreds to no more than a few thousand seconds. If a nanoflare leads to the relaxation of a stressed coronal field to a near-potential state, the time taken to build up the required magnetic energy is thus too long to account for the EM measurements. Instead, it is suggested that a nanoflare involves the relaxation from one stressed coronal state to another, dissipating only a small fraction of the available magnetic energy. A consequence is that nanoflare energies may be smaller than previously envisioned.
Cargill , P J 2014 , ' Active region emission measure distributions and implications for nanoflare heating ' Astrophysical Journal , vol. 784 , no. 1 . DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/784/1/49
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