Morphology, dynamics and plasma parameters of plumes and inter-plume regions in solar coronal holes

TitleMorphology, dynamics and plasma parameters of plumes and inter-plume regions in solar coronal holes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsWilhelm, K., Abbo L., Auchère F., Barbey N., Feng L., Gabriel A. H., Giordano S., Imada S., Llebaria A., Matthaeus W. H., Poletto G., Raouafi N.-E., Suess S. T., Teriaca L., and Wang Y.-M.
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics Reviews

Coronal plumes, which extend from solar coronal holes (CH) into the high corona and{\mdash}possibly{\mdash}into the solar wind (SW), can now continuously be studied with modern telescopes and spectrometers on spacecraft, in addition to investigations from the ground, in particular, during total eclipses. Despite the large amount of data available on these prominent features and related phenomena, many questions remained unanswered as to their generation and relative contributions to the high-speed streams emanating from CHs. An understanding of the processes of plume formation and evolution requires a better knowledge of the physical conditions at the base of CHs, in plumes and in the surrounding inter-plume regions. More specifically, information is needed on the magnetic field configuration, the electron densities and temperatures, effective ion temperatures, non-thermal motions, plume cross sections relative to the size of a CH, the plasma bulk speeds, as well as any plume signatures in the SW. In spring 2007, the authors proposed a study on `Structure and dynamics of coronal plumes and inter-plume regions in solar coronal holes' to the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern to clarify some of these aspects by considering relevant observations and the extensive literature. This review summarizes the results and conclusions of the study. Stereoscopic observations allowed us to include three-dimensional reconstructions of plumes. Multi-instrument investigations carried out during several campaigns led to progress in some areas, such as plasma densities, temperatures, plume structure and the relation to other solar phenomena, but not all questions could be answered concerning the details of plume generation process(es) and interaction with the SW.