Multi-scale observations of thermal non-equilibrium cycles in coronal loops

Clara Froment, Patrick Antolin, V. M. J. Henriques, Petra Kohutova, L. H. M. Rouppe Van Der Voort

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Context. Thermal non-equilibrium (TNE) is a phenomenon that can occur in solar coronal loops when the heating is quasi-constant and highly-stratified. Under such heating conditions, coronal loops undergo cycles of evaporation and condensation. The recent observations of ubiquitous long-period intensity pulsations in coronal loops and their relationship with coronal rain have demonstrated that understanding the characteristics of TNE cycles is an essential step in constraining the circulation of mass and energy in the corona.

Aims. We report unique observations with the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) that link the captured thermal properties across the extreme spatiotemporal scales covered by TNE processes.

Methods. Within the same coronal loop bundle, we captured 6 h period coronal intensity pulsations in SDO/AIA and coronal rain observed off-limb in the chromospheric Hα and Ca II K spectral lines with SST/CRISP and SST/CHROMIS. We combined a multi-thermal analysis of the cycles with AIA and an extensive spectral characterisation of the rain clumps with the SST.

Results. We find clear evidence of evaporation-condensation cycles in the corona which are linked with periodic coronal rain showers. The high-resolution spectroscopic instruments at the SST reveal the fine-structured rain strands and allow us to probe the cooling phase of one of the cycles down to chromospheric temperatures.

Conclusions. These observations reinforce the link between long-period intensity pulsations and coronal rain. They also demonstrate the capability of TNE to shape the dynamics of active regions on the large scales as well as on the smallest scales currently resolvable.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA11
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Early online date20 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


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