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Nanoflares and the solar X-ray corona
Parker, E. N.
AA(Chicago, University, IL)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 330, July 1, 1988, p. 474-479. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
Solar Physics
NASA/STI Keywords:
Solar Corona, Solar Flares, Solar Magnetic Field, Solar X-Rays, Ultraviolet Radiation, High Temperature Gases, Lines Of Force, Photosphere, Spatial Resolution, Steady State
Bibliographic Code:


Observations of the sun with high time and spatial resolution in UV and X-rays show that the emission from small isolated magnetic bipoles is intermittent and impulsive, while the steadier emission from larger bipoles appears as the sum of many individual impulses. We refer to the basic unit of impulsive energy release as a nanoflare. The observations suggest, then, that the active X-ray corona of the sun is to be understood as a swarm of nanoflares. This interpretation suggests that the X-ray corona is created by the dissipation at the many tangential discontinuities arising spontaneously in the bipolar fields of the active regions of the sun as a consequence of random continuous motion of the footpoints of the field in the photospheric convection. The quantitative characteristics of the process are inferred from the observed coronal heat input.

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