A model for the formation of the active region corona driven by magnetic flux emergence⋆
1 Max Plank Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
2 Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory, 3251 Hanover St, Palo Alto CA 94304, USA
Received: 16 October 2013
Accepted: 21 February 2014
Aims. We present the first model that couples the formation of the corona of a solar active region to a model of the emergence of a sunspot pair. This allows us to study when, where, and why active region loops form, and how they evolve.
Methods. We use a 3D radiation magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulation of the emergence of an active region through the upper convection zone and the photosphere as a lower boundary for a 3D MHD coronal model. The coronal model accounts for the braiding of the magnetic fieldlines, which induces currents in the corona to heat up the plasma. We synthesize the coronal emission for a direct comparison to observations. Starting with a basically field-free atmosphere we follow the filling of the corona with magnetic field and plasma.
Results. Numerous individually identifiable hot coronal loops form, and reach temperatures well above 1 MK with densities comparable to observations. The footpoints of these loops are found where small patches of magnetic flux concentrations move into the sunspots. The loop formation is triggered by an increase in upward-directed Poynting flux at their footpoints in the photosphere. In the synthesized extreme ultraviolet (EUV) emission these loops develop within a few minutes. The first EUV loop appears as a thin tube, then rises and expands significantly in the horizontal direction. Later, the spatially inhomogeneous heat input leads to a fragmented system of multiple loops or strands in a growing envelope.
Key words: Sun: corona / Sun: activity / Sun: UV radiation / sunspots / Sun: magnetic fields / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
Animation associated with Fig. 2 is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2014