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Session 8 - Corona III.
Oral session, Saturday, June 28
Ballroom A, Chair: Barry LaBonte
Although it is not widely known outside the discipline of solar radiophysics, a long-standing puzzle exists: the poles of the Sun appear brighter than the rest of the quiet Sun in a restricted range of wavelengths roughly from 15 GHz to about 48 GHz (cf. Kosugi et al. 1986). At somewhat lower radio frequencies the poles appear darker than the quiet Sun due to a deficit of coronal material, while at mm-wavelengths the polar and non-polar quiet Sun appear quite uniform due to the similarity of the atmospheric structure at lower heights in the chromosphere. The excess brightness at the poles has also been reported in coronal holes on the disk, and so is apparently related to the phenomenon of coronal holes. The brightening likely corresponds to an elevated temperature in the upper chromosphere in coronal holes relative to normal quiet Sun. The phenomenon is especially well suited to study via radio emission due to the unique sensitivity of radio waves to this height range in the chromosphere. The possibility exists that the different chromospheric structure for coronal holes implied by the radio brightening may offer some clue to the origin of the fast solar wind, which is now well established to arise in coronal holes.
Radio brightening of coronal holes is a difficult observational problem because an instrument is needed that can image large areas of the Sun at relatively high resolution. The Nobeyama Radioheliograph has the required capability and operates at 17 and 34 GHz, nicely within the frequency range where the brightening occurs. We compare Nobeyama radio synthesis images on several days in 1996 with images from the EIT, CDS, and MDI experiments on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft, and with high resolution images from the Big Bear Solar Observatory, with the aim of determining the spatial and temporal characteristics of the brightening. We compare the extent of the radio brightening with the boundaries of the coronal holes seen from the SOHO data, to establish the previously suggested identity of the polar brightening with coronal holes. We investigate whether the brightening is primarily associated with network features, faculae, or perhaps bipolar magnetic elements, or whether it is instead a diffuse brightening more-or-less uniformly covering the coronal hole area. We look for temporal variations, and their correlation with changing features seen from SOHO. We conclude with some ideas for how the chromospheric structure may be different in coronal holes than in normal quiet Sun, and speculate on the implications for acceleration of the fast solar wind.
Program listing for Saturday