Small-Scale Energy Release Driven by Supergranular Flows on the Quiet Sun


We present data and modelling for the quiet Sun that strongly suggest a ubiquitous small-scale atmospheric heating mechanism that is driven solely by converging supergranular flows. A possible energy source for such events is the power transfer to the plasma via the work done on the magnetic field by photospheric convective flows, which exert drag on the footpoints of magnetic structures. We present evidence of small-scale energy release events driven directly by the hydrodynamic forces that act on the magnetic elements in the photosphere, as a result of supergranular-scale flows. We show strong spatial and temporal correlation between quiet-Sun soft X-ray emission (from Yohkoh SXT) and SOHO MDI-derived flux removal events driven by deduced photospheric flows. We also present a simple model of heating generated by flux submergence, based on particle acceleration by converging magnetic mirrors. In the near future, high resolution soft X-ray images from XRT on the Hinode satellite will allow definitive, quantitative verification of our results.

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Potts, H.E., Khan, J.I. & Diver, D.A. Small-Scale Energy Release Driven by Supergranular Flows on the Quiet Sun. Sol Phys 245, 55–68 (2007) doi:10.1007/s11207-007-9021-7

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  • Solar Phys
  • Bright Point
  • Magnetic Element
  • Coronal Heating
  • Magnetogram Data