Prevalence of Thermal Nonequilibrium over an Active Region

Seray Sahin*, Patrick Antolin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


Recent observations have shown that besides the characteristic multimillion degree component, the corona also contains a large amount of cool material called coronal rain, whose clumps are 10–100 times cooler and denser than the surroundings and are often organized in larger events, termed showers. Thermal instability (TI) within a coronal loop in a state of thermal nonequilibrium (TNE) is the leading mechanism behind the formation of coronal rain but no investigation on showers exists to date. In this study, we conduct a morphological and thermodynamic multiwavelength study of coronal rain showers observed in an active region (AR) off-limb with IRIS and the Solar Dynamics Observatory, spanning chromospheric to transition region and coronal temperatures. Rain showers were found to be widespread across the AR over the 5.45 hr observing time, with an average length, width, and duration of 27.37 ± 11.95 Mm, 2.14 ± 0.74 Mm, and 35.22 ± 20.35 minutes, respectively. We find a good correspondence between showers and the cooling coronal structures consistent with the TNE–TI scenario, thereby properly identifying coronal loops in the "coronal veil", including the strong expansion at low heights and an almost zero expansion in the corona. This agrees with previous work suggesting that the observed zero expansion in the EUV is due to specific cross-field temperature distribution. We estimate the total number of showers to be 155 ± 40, leading to a TNE volume of 4.56 ± [3.71] × 1028 cm3, i.e., on the same order of the AR volume. This suggests a prevalence of TNE over the AR indicating strongly stratified and high-frequency heating on average.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberL27
Number of pages9
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Early online date31 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


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