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Transient small-scale brightenings in the quiet solar corona: A model for campfires observed with Solar Orbiter

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Chen,  Yajie
Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

Przybylski,  Damien
Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons104124

Peter,  Hardi
Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Chen, Y., Przybylski, D., Peter, H., Tian, H., Auchère, F., & Berghmans, D. (2021). Transient small-scale brightenings in the quiet solar corona: A model for campfires observed with Solar Orbiter. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 656: L7. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/202140638.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-8C7F-B
Abstract
Context. Recent observations by the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) on board Solar Orbiter have characterized prevalent small-scale transient brightenings in the corona above the quiet Sun termed campfires. Aims. In this study we search for comparable brightenings in a numerical model and then investigate their relation to the magnetic field and the processes that drive these events. Methods. We used the MURaM code to solve the 3D radiation magnetohydrodynamic equations in a box that stretches from the upper convection zone to the corona. The model self-consistently produces a supergranular network of the magnetic field and a hot corona above this quiet Sun. For the comparison with the model, we synthesized the coronal emission as seen by EUI in its 174 Å channel, isolated the seven strongest transient brightenings, and investigated the changes of the magnetic field in and around these in detail. Results. The transients we isolated have a lifetime of about 2 min and are elongated loop-like features with lengths around 1 Mm to 4 Mm. They tend to occur at heights of about 2 Mm to 5 Mm above the photosphere, a bit offset from magnetic concentrations that mark the bright chromospheric network, and they reach temperatures of above 1 MK. As a result, they very much resemble the larger campfires found in observations. In our model most events are energized by component reconnection between bundles of field lines that interact at coronal heights. In one case, we find that untwisting a highly twisted flux rope initiates the heating. Conclusions. Based on our study, we propose that the majority of campfire events found by EUI are driven by component reconnection and our model suggests that this process significantly contributes to the heating of the corona above the quiet Sun.