EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 427, Number 3, December I 2004
Page(s) 1065 - 1074
Section The Sun
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20040503
Published online 16 November 2004

A&A 427, 1065-1074 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20040503

Transition region small-scale dynamics as seen by SUMER on SOHO

L. Teriaca1, D. Banerjee2, A. Falchi3, J. G. Doyle4 and M. S. Madjarska1, 5

1  Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung (Former Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie.) , Max-Planck-Str. 2, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
    e-mail: teriaca@linmpi.mpg.de
2  Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Koramangala, Bangalore 560034, India
3  INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
4  Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh BT61 9DG, UK
5  Department of Solar Physics, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Av. Circulaire 3, 1180 Bruxelles, Belgium

(Received 24 March 2004 / Accepted 10 August 2004 )

High spectral, spatial and temporal resolution UV observations of the quiet Sun transition region show a highly structured and dynamical environment where transient supersonic flows are commonly observed. Strongly non-Gaussian line profiles are the spectral signatures of these flows and are known in the literature as explosive events. In this paper we present a high spatial resolution ( $\approx $ 1'') spectroheliogram of a $273''\times 291''$ area of the quiet Sun acquired with SUMER/SOHO in the O VI spectral line at $\lambda$103.193 nm. The extremely high quality of these observations allows us to identify tens of explosive events from which we estimate an average size of 1800 km and a birthrate of 2500 s -1 over the entire Sun. Estimates of the kinetic and enthalpy fluxes associated with these events show that explosive events are not important as far as solar coronal heating is concerned. The relationship with the underlying photospheric magnetic field is also studied, revealing that explosive events generally occur in regions with weak (and, very likely, mixed polarity) magnetic flux. By studying the structure of upward and downward flows exceeding those associated to average quiet Sun profiles, we find a clear correlation between the "excess" flows and the magnetic network. However, although explosive events are always associated with flow patterns often covering areas larger than the explosive event itself, the contrary is not true. In particular, almost all flows associated with the stronger concentrations of photospheric magnetic flux do not show non-Gaussian line profiles. In some cases, non-Gaussian line profiles are associated with supersonic flows in small magnetic loops. The case of a small loop showing a supersonic siphon-like flow of $\approx $130  $\rm km~s^{-1}$ is studied in detail. This is, to our knowledge, the first detection of a supersonic siphon-like flow in a quiet Sun loop. In other cases, the flow patterns associated with explosive events may suggest a relation with UV spicules.

Key words: Sun: transition region -- Sun: UV radiation -- line: profiles

© ESO 2004

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