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ROMFORSK-Program for romforskning

Impact of small-scale reconnection events on the solar atmosphere

Alternative title: Hvordan påvirkes solatmosfæren av magnetisk spleising i småskala strukturer?

Awarded: NOK 7.9 mill.

Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental physical process in which the magnetic topology is rearranged and magnetic energy is converted into other forms of energy such as heat and particle acceleration. Our closest star, the Sun, provides unique opportunity to advance our understanding of the process and physics of magnetic reconnection because it harbours scales and conditions that cannot be reproduced in Earth laboratories. For most dynamic and transient events in the solar atmosphere, magnetic reconnection is the fundamental driving mechanism. In the lower solar atmosphere, sites with magnetic reconnection can be observed as so-called Ellerman bombs at spatial scales of a few 100's of kilometers. Recent high-resolution observations have shown that these Ellerman bombs occur on the solar surface in much higher numbers than thought before. The central objective of this project is to understand the origin and formation of Ellerman bombs in magnetically inactive areas (the so-called quiet Sun) and explore their impact on the solar atmosphere. We plan to achieve this goal by combining high quality observations from space-borne and ground-based telescopes, and by comparison of observational data with large-scale, realistic, 3D numerical models of the solar atmosphere. The observations will be acquired through coordinated campaigns with NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) satellite and the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope on La Palma. Insight on the impact of these Ellerman bombs on the solar atmosphere will come from comparison of these observations with synthetic observables calculated with advanced simulations of the solar atmosphere.

Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental physical process in which the magnetic topology is rearranged and magnetic energy is converted to kinetic energy, thermal energy, and particle acceleration. Our closest star, the Sun, provides unique opportunity to advance our understanding of the process and physics of magnetic reconnection because it harbours scales and conditions that cannot be reproduced in Earth laboratories. For most dynamic and transient events in the solar atmosphere, magnetic reconnection is the fundamental driving mechanism. In the lower solar atmosphere, sites with magnetic reconnection can be observed as so-called Ellerman bombs. Recent high-resolution observations have shown that these Ellerman bombs occur on the solar surface in much higher numbers than thought before. The central objective of this project is to understand the origin and formation of Ellerman bombs in the quiet Sun and explore their role in the energy and mass transport from the lower to the upper solar atmosphere. We plan to achieve this goal by a two-fold approach: by combining high resolution observations (spatially, temporally, and spectrally) from space-borne and ground-based telescopes, and by comparison of observational data with large-scale, realistic, 3D numerical models of the solar atmosphere. The observations will be acquired through coordinated campaigns with the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) satellite and the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope on La Palma. Insight on the impact of these Ellerman bombs on the solar atmosphere will come from comparison of these observations with synthetic observables calculated with advanced 3D non-LTE radiative transfer codes from radiative magneto-hydrodynamic simulations of the solar atmosphere.

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Funding scheme:

ROMFORSK-Program for romforskning