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Self-Consistent Heating of the Magnetically Closed Corona: Generation of Nanoflares and Response of the Plasma

Presentation #303.02 in the session From the Chromosphere to Corona.

Published onSep 18, 2023
Self-Consistent Heating of the Magnetically Closed Corona: Generation of Nanoflares and Response of the Plasma

The energy that heats the magnetically closed solar corona originates in the complex motions of the massive photosphere. Turbulent photospheric convection slowly displaces the footpoints of coronal field lines, causing them to become twisted and tangled. Magnetic stresses gradually build until reaching a breaking point when the field reconnects and releases a sudden burst of energy. We simulate this basic picture of nanoflares using high-fidelity 3D MHD simulations that start with a fully stratified corona-chromosphere-photosphere atmosphere. These simulations include the effects of field-aligned thermal conduction and optically thin radiation and use the state-of-the-art TRAC method to capture the response of the plasma to the nanoflare heating. A detailed analysis of a particular nanoflare demonstrates that our simulations capture the explosive energy release from narrow current sheets via magnetic reconnection, where magnetic energy is converted into kinetic and then thermal energy through viscous dissipation of the shocks, as takes place on the Sun. Distributions of nanoflare energy and frequency are also discussed, and diagnostics that show the evaporative response of the plasma to this heating are presented. LOS integrations are computed to obtain synthetic images of intensity in different AIA channels that connect our simulations with observations. The collective behavior of nanoflares responsible for forming coronal loops in these synthetic images is discussed together with their measured densities, lifetimes, and length scales.

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