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Forbes T.G.,University of New Hampshire | Priest E.R.,University of St. Andrews | Seaton D.B.,SIDC Royal Observatory of Belgium | Litvinenko Y.E.,University of Waikato
Physics of Plasmas | Year: 2013

We explain two puzzling aspects of Petschek's model for fast reconnection. One is its failure to occur in plasma simulations with uniform resistivity. The other is its inability to provide anything more than an upper limit for the reconnection rate. We have found that previously published analytical solutions based on Petschek's model are structurally unstable if the electrical resistivity is uniform. The structural instability is associated with the presence of an essential singularity at the X-line that is unphysical. By requiring that such a singularity does not exist, we obtain a formula that predicts a specific rate of reconnection. For uniform resistivity, reconnection can only occur at the slow, Sweet-Parker rate. For nonuniform resistivity, reconnection can occur at a much faster rate provided that the resistivity profile is not too flat near the X-line. If this condition is satisfied, then the scale length of the nonuniformity determines the reconnection rate. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC. Source


Pasachoff J.M.,Williams College | Rusin V.,Slovak Academy of Sciences | Druckmullerova H.,Brno University of Technology | Saniga M.,Slovak Academy of Sciences | And 8 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2011

The white-light corona (WLC) during the total solar eclipse on 2010 July 11 was observed by several teams in the Moon's shadow stretching across the Pacific Ocean and a number of isolated islands. We present a comparison of the WLC as observed by eclipse teams located on the Tatakoto Atoll in French Polynesia and on Easter Island, 83minutes later, combined with near-simultaneous space observations. The eclipse was observed at the beginning of the solar cycle, not long after solar minimum. Nevertheless, the solar corona shows a plethora of different features (coronal holes, helmet streamers, polar rays, very faint loops and radial-oriented thin streamers, a coronal mass ejection, and a puzzling "curtain-like" object above the north pole). Comparing the observations from the two sites enables us to detect some dynamic phenomena. The eclipse observations are further compared with a hairy-ball model of the magnetic field and near-simultaneous images from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager on NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, the Sun Watcher, using Active Pixel System Detector and Image Processing on ESA's PRoject for Onboard Autonomy, and the Naval Research Laboratory's Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph on ESA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. The Ludendorff flattening coefficient is 0.156, matching the expected ellipticity of coronal isophotes at 2 R⊙, for this rising phase of the solar-activity cycle. © 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Source


Murphy N.A.,Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | Miralles M.P.,Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | Pope C.L.,Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | Pope C.L.,Elmhurst College | And 7 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2012

We present two-dimensional resistive magnetohydrodynamic simulations of line-tied asymmetric magnetic reconnection in the context of solar flare and coronal mass ejection current sheets. The reconnection process is made asymmetric along the inflow direction by allowing the initial upstream magnetic field strengths and densities to differ, and along the outflow direction by placing the initial perturbation near a conducting wall boundary that represents the photosphere. When the upstream magnetic fields are asymmetric, the post-flare loop structure is distorted into a characteristic skewed candle flame shape. The simulations can thus be used to provide constraints on the reconnection asymmetry in post-flare loops. More hard X-ray emission is expected to occur at the footpoint on the weak magnetic field side because energetic particles are more likely to escape the magnetic mirror there than at the strong magnetic field footpoint. The footpoint on the weak magnetic field side is predicted to move more quickly because of the requirement in two dimensions that equal amounts of flux must be reconnected from each upstream region. The X-line drifts away from the conducting wall in all simulations with asymmetric outflow and into the strong magnetic field region during most of the simulations with asymmetric inflow. There is net plasma flow across the X-line for both the inflow and outflow directions. The reconnection exhaust directed away from the obstructing wall is significantly faster than the exhaust directed toward it. The asymmetric inflow condition allows net vorticity in the rising outflow plasmoid which would appear as rolling motions about the flux rope axis. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Source


Chandrashekhar K.,Indian Institute of Astrophysics | Krishna Prasad S.,Indian Institute of Astrophysics | Banerjee D.,Indian Institute of Astrophysics | Ravindra B.,Indian Institute of Astrophysics | Seaton D.B.,SIDC Royal Observatory of Belgium
Solar Physics | Year: 2013

The Sun Watcher using Active Pixel system detector and Image Processing (SWAP) onboard the PRoject for OnBoard Autonomy-2 (PROBA2) spacecraft provides images of the solar corona in EUV channel centered at 174 Å. These data, together with the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) and the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) onboard Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), are used to study the dynamics of coronal bright points. The evolution of the magnetic polarities and associated changes in morphology are studied using magnetograms and multi-wavelength imaging. The morphology of the bright points seen in low-resolution SWAP images and high-resolution AIA images show different structures, whereas the intensity variations with time show similar trends in both SWAP 174 Å and AIA 171 Å channels. We observe that bright points are seen in EUV channels corresponding to a magnetic flux of the order of 1018 Mx. We find that there exists a good correlation between total emission from the bright point in several UV-EUV channels and total unsigned photospheric magnetic flux above certain thresholds. The bright points also show periodic brightenings, and we have attempted to find the oscillation periods in bright points and their connection to magnetic-flux changes. The observed periods are generally long (10 - 25 minutes) and there is an indication that the intensity oscillations may be generated by repeated magnetic reconnection. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source


Pasachoff J.M.,Williams College | Pasachoff J.M.,California Institute of Technology | Rusin V.,Slovak Academy of Sciences | Saniga M.,Slovak Academy of Sciences | And 10 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2015

Continuing our series of observations of coronal motion and dynamics over the solar-activity cycle, we observed from sites in Queensland, Australia, during the 2012 November 13 (UT)/14 (local time) total solar eclipse. The corona took the low-ellipticity shape typical of solar maximum (flattening index ε = 0.01), a change from the composite coronal images we observed and analyzed in this journal and elsewhere for the 2006 and 2008-2010 eclipses. After crossing the northeast Australian coast, the path of totality was over the ocean, so further totality was seen only by shipborne observers. Our results include velocities of a coronal mass ejection (CME; during the 36 minutes of passage from the Queensland coast to a ship north of New Zealand, we measured 413 km s-1) and we analyze its dynamics. We discuss the shapes and positions of several types of coronal features seen on our higher-resolution composite Queensland coronal images, including many helmet streamers, very faint bright and dark loops at the bases of helmet streamers, voids, and radially oriented thin streamers. We compare our eclipse observations with models of the magnetic field, confirming the validity of the predictions, and relate the eclipse phenomenology seen with the near-simultaneous images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO/AIA), NASA's Extreme Ultraviolet Imager on Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, ESA/Royal Observatory of Belgium's Sun Watcher with Active Pixels and Image Processing (SWAP) on PROBA2, and Naval Research Laboratory's Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph Experiment on ESA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. For example, the southeastern CME is related to the solar flare whose origin we trace with a SWAP series of images. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Source

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