Coronal rain in magnetic bipolar weak fields⋆
Centre for mathematical Plasma Astrophysics, Department of Mathematics, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200B, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
Received: 20 February 2017
Accepted: 25 May 2017
Aims. We intend to investigate the underlying physics for the coronal rain phenomenon in a representative bipolar magnetic field, including the formation and the dynamics of coronal rain blobs.
Methods. With the MPI-AMRVAC code, we performed three dimensional radiative magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation with strong heating localized on footpoints of magnetic loops after a relaxation to quiet solar atmosphere.
Results. Progressive cooling and in-situ condensation starts at the loop top due to radiative thermal instability. The first large-scale condensation on the loop top suffers Rayleigh-Taylor instability and becomes fragmented into smaller blobs. The blobs fall vertically dragging magnetic loops until they reach low-β regions and start to fall along the loops from loop top to loop footpoints. A statistic study of the coronal rain blobs finds that small blobs with masses of less than 1010 g dominate the population. When blobs fall to lower regions along the magnetic loops, they are stretched and develop a non-uniform velocity pattern with an anti-parallel shearing pattern seen to develop along the central axis of the blobs. Synthetic images of simulated coronal rain with Solar Dynamics Observatory Atmospheric Imaging Assembly well resemble real observations presenting dark falling clumps in hot channels and bright rain blobs in a cool channel. We also find density inhomogeneities during a coronal rain “shower”, which reflects the observed multi-stranded nature of coronal rain.
Key words: Sun: corona / Sun: activity / Sun: filaments, prominences / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / instabilities
Movies associated to Figs. 3 and 7 are available at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2017