What is the true nature of blinkers?
College Hill, Armagh BT61 9DG
2 Jeremiah Horrocks Institute, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 2HE, UK
Received: 12 August 2011
Accepted: 5 November 2011
Aims. The aim of this work is to identify the true nature of the transient EUV brightenings, called blinkers.
Methods. Co-spatial and co-temporal multi-instrument data, including imaging (EUVI/STEREO, XRT and SOT/Hinode), spectroscopic (CDS/SoHO and EIS/Hinode) and magnetogram (SOT/Hinode) data, of an isolated equatorial coronal hole were used. An automatic program for identifying transient brightenings in CDS O v 629 Å, EUVI 171 Å and XRT was applied.
Results. We identified 28 blinker groups in the CDS O v 629 Å raster images. All CDS O v 629 Å blinkers showed counterparts in EUVI 171 Å and 304 Å images. We classified these blinkers into two categories, one associated with coronal counterparts and other with no coronal counterparts as seen in XRT images and EIS Fe xii 195.12 Å raster images. Around two-thirds of the blinkers show coronal counterparts and correspond to various events like EUV/X-ray jets, brightenings in coronal bright points or foot-point brightenings of larger loops. These brightenings occur repetitively and have a lifetime of around 40 min at transition region temperatures. The remaining blinker groups with no coronal counterpart in XRT and EIS Fe xii 195.12 Å appear as point-like brightenings and have chromospheric/transition region origin. They take place only once and have a lifetime of around 20 min. In general, lifetimes of blinkers are different at different wavelengths, i.e. different temperatures, decreasing from the chromosphere to the corona.
Conclusions. This work shows that the term blinker covers a range of phenomena. Blinkers are the EUV response of various transient events originating at coronal, transition region and chromospheric heights. Hence, events associated with blinkers contribute to the formation and maintenance of the temperature gradient in the transition region and the corona.
Key words: Sun: atmosphere / Sun: corona / methods: observational / methods: data analysis / sun: transition region
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