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Journal Article

Defining the Middle Corona


Chitta,  Lakshmi Pradeep
Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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West, M. J., Seaton, D. B., Wexler, D. B., Raymond, J. C., Del Zanna, G., Rivera, Y. J., et al. (2023). Defining the Middle Corona. Solar Physics, 298, 78. doi:10.1007/s11207-023-02170-1.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-B141-1
The middle corona, the region roughly spanning heliocentric distances from 1.5 to 6 solar radii, encompasses almost all of the influential physical transitions and processes that govern the behavior of coronal outflow into the heliosphere. The solar wind, eruptions, and flows pass through the region, and they are shaped by it. Importantly, the region also modulates inflow from above that can drive dynamic changes at lower heights in the inner corona. Consequently, the middle corona is essential for comprehensively connecting the corona to the heliosphere and for developing corresponding global models. Nonetheless, because it is challenging to observe, the region has been poorly studied by both major solar remote-sensing and in-situ missions and instruments, extending back to the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) era. Thanks to recent advances in instrumentation, observational processing techniques, and a realization of the importance of the region, interest in the middle corona has increased. Although the region cannot be intrinsically separated from other regions of the solar atmosphere, there has emerged a need to define the region in terms of its location and extension in the solar atmosphere, its composition, the physical transitions that it covers, and the underlying physics believed to shape the region. This article aims to define the middle corona, its physical characteristics, and give an overview of the processes that occur there.