The Structure and Origin of Solar Plumes: Network Plumes

TitreThe Structure and Origin of Solar Plumes: Network Plumes
Type de publicationJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuteursGabriel, A., Bely-Dubau F., Tison E., and Wilhelm K.
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Date PublishedJul

This study is based upon plumes seen close to the solar limb within coronal holes in the emission from ions formed in the temperature region of 1 MK, in particular, the band of Fe IX 171 Å from EIT on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. It is shown, using geometric arguments, that two distinct classes of structure contribute to apparently similar plume observations. Quasi-cylindrical structures are anchored in discrete regions of the solar surface (beam plumes), and faint extended structures require integration along the line of sight (LOS) in order to reproduce the observed brightness. This second category, sometimes called ''curtains,'' are ubiquitous within the polar holes and are usually more abundant than the beam plumes, which depend more on the enhanced magnetic structures detected at their footpoints. It is here proposed that both phenomena are based on plasma structures in which emerging magnetic loops interact with ambient monopolar fields, involving reconnection. The important difference is in terms of physical scale. It is proposed that curtains are composed of a large number of microplumes, distributed along the LOS. The supergranule network provides the required spatial structure. It is shown by modeling that the observations can be reproduced if microplumes are concentrated within some 5 Mm of the cell boundaries. For this reason, we propose to call this second population ''network plumes.'' The processes involved could represent a major contribution to the heating mechanism of the solar corona.