Volume 437, Number 1, July I 2005
|Page(s)||311 - 317|
|Published online||10 June 2005|
The cooling of coronal plasmas
II. Properties of the radiative phase
Space and Atmospheric Physics, Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London, Prince Consort Road, London, SW7 2BZ, UK e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 16 March 2005
The robust power-law relationship between the temperature (T) and the density (n) that arises during the radiative cooling phase of a solar coronal loop is investigated. Using an analytical model and numerical hydrodynamic simulations, we demonstrate that radiative energy loss from the transition region is the dominant physical process. It governs the down-flow by which mass is lost from the corona and hence controls the evolution of the entire loop. We also show that the down-flow is initiated by a weakening of the pressure gradient between the corona and the transition region, such that the plasma can no longer be supported in hydrostatic equilibrium. Rather than driving the down-flow, the pressure gradient actually regulates it and acts as a brake against gravitational acceleration.
Key words: Sun: corona / Sun: transition region / Sun: UV radiation
© ESO, 2005
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