A nanoflare model of quiet Sun EUV emission
Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 now at Paul Scherrer Institut, 5232 Villigen, Switzerland
Accepted: 19 October 2006
Nanoflares have been proposed as the main source of heating of the solar corona. However, detecting them directly has so far proved elusive, and extrapolating to them from the properties of larger brightenings gives unreliable estimates of the power-law exponent α characterising their distribution. Here we take the approach of statistically modelling light curves representative of the quiet Sun as seen in EUV radiation. The basic assumption is that all quiet-Sun EUV emission is due to micro- and nanoflares, whose radiative energies display a power-law distribution. Radiance values in the quiet Sun follow a lognormal distribution. This is irrespective of whether the distribution is made over a spatial scan or over a time series. We show that these distributions can be reproduced by our simple model. By simultaneously fitting the radiance distribution function and the power spectrum obtained from the light curves emitted by transition region and coronal lines the power-law distribution of micro- and nanoflare brightenings is constrained. A good statistical match to the measurements is obtained for a steep power-law distribution of nanoflare energies, with power-law exponent . This is consistent with the dominant heat input to the corona being provided by nanoflares, i.e., by events with energies around 1023 erg. In order to reproduce the observed SUMER time series approximately 103 to 104 nanoflares are needed per second throughout the atmosphere of the quiet Sun (assuming the nanoflares to cover an average area of 1013 m2).
Key words: Sun: flares / Sun: transition region / Sun: corona
© ESO, 2007