Solar Physics Division Meeting 2000, June 19-22
Session 13. Solar Corona
Oral, Chair: D. A. Biesecker, Thursday, June 22, 2000, 8:30-10:00, 10:30-11:00am, Forum

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[13.06] Soft X-ray Luminosity and Photospheric Magnetic Field in Quiet Sun.

A.A. Pevtsov, L.W. Acton (MSU)

We are using full disk soft X-ray data from Yohkoh and Kitt Peak daily magnetograms to study the coronal luminosity and photospheric magnetic field in the quiet Sun between 1991 November and 1998 December. For every image of our data set we extract three areas 4 by 4 solar degrees in size centered at 00N00W, 50N00W and 50S00W and compute X-ray luminosity and unsigned magnetic flux for each of these areas.

Between 1991 (active Sun) and 1996 (quiet Sun) the X-ray luminosity at the heliographic center decreases by more than a factor of 7...while the magnetic flux decreases by only a factor of 2. A similar tendency is observed for our high latitude samples. Apart from the cycle-related variations, all three areas of quiet Sun exhibit significant non-periodic changes in X-ray luminosity. These variations occur on 9-12 month intervals and clearly correlate with increase/decrease in sunspot activity. Similar variations are present in the total X-ray irradiance averaged over the solar disk. On the contrary, the magnetic fluxes from the same areas of quiet Sun show no corresponding variations on this time scale.

In our opinion, coronal heating models based on the reconnection of quiet sun magnetic elements (variously called chromospheric network, "magnetic carpet" or "salt and pepper" field) can not explain the million degree corona observed by the Yohkoh soft X-ray telescope. We conclude that the X-ray luminosity in the quiet Sun (at least in the Yohkoh temperature range, >2 MK) is primarily associated with the strong magnetic fields of active regions, not with weak photospheric fields. To further support this conclusion, we show one example of a dramatic change in X-ray luminosity over the entire visible corona that was associated with the emergence of a single small active region.

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