Solar Physics

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 359–376 | Cite as

Energy balance in a magnetically confined coronal structure observed by OSO-7

  • W. M. Neupert
  • Y. Nakagawa
  • David M. Rust


A model of a coronal region of enhanced Fexv and Fexvi emission is developed and its energy balance is examined using extreme ultraviolet observations from OSO-7 together with calculations of possible force-free coronal magnetic field configurations. The coronal emissions overlying the photospheric boundary between regions of opposite magnetic polarity are found to be associated with generally non-potential (current-carrying) magnetic fields in the forms of arches with footpoints in regions of opposite polarity. The orientation of these arches relative to the neutral line changes with degree of ionization of the emitting ion (which we infer from our limb observations to be a function of height) and may be evidence of differing electric currents along various field lines. The appearance of a coronal arch, seen side-on, can conveniently be represented by a parabola and a detailed analysis (Appendix) shows this to be a realistic approximation that should be generally useful in analyzing two-dimensional pictures of coronal structures. Applying this analysis to the most prominent coronal region observed in the radiations of Fexv and Fexvi, we find a maximum in the electron temperature, T e , of 2.6 × 106K at the top of arches whose heights are 20000–40000 km and whose footpoints are separated by ≈ 100000 km. A temperature gradient of ▽T e ≈5 × 10-5K cm-1 is found in this coronal structure. Radiative losses are typically fifteen times greater than conductive losses and the energy deposition required to maintain the coronal feature is nearly uniformly distributed along its length.


Magnetic Polarity Neutral Line Field Configuration Conductive Loss Coronal Structure 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. M. Neupert
    • 1
  • Y. Nakagawa
    • 2
  • David M. Rust
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory for Solar Physics and Astrophysics, NASA-Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltU.S.A.
  2. 2.High Altitude Observatory, National Center for Atmosphere ResearchBoulder, Colo.U.S.A.
  3. 3.American Science and Engineering, Inc.Cambridge, Mass.U.S.A.

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