AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 2. Coronal Plasmas
Display, Monday, June 3, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, SW Exhibit Hall

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[2.13] SOHO/CDS Measurements of Coronal EUV Polarization above the Limb

R. J. Thomas (NASA's GSFC)

Attempts to measure polarization in coronal EUV emission above the solar limb have been made using the SOHO/CDS normal-incidence spectrometer which has a polarization sensitivity of about 50%, a property that causes variations in intensity response as a function of the spacecraft's roll angle for polarized light. Such observations were made on the disk and up to 0.22 solar radii above the solar limb in a number of EUV lines during two special roll-maneuvers of the SOHO spacecraft. Measurements of intensity gradients were made above a modestly active equatorial region in 1997 and above a relatively cool polar region in 2001. Observed emission lines include He~I 584A, He~II 304A, O~IV 555+610A, O~V 630A, Mg~IX 368A, Mg~X 610+625A, and Si~XI 303A, formed at temperatures that evenly cover the range in logT from 4.1 to 6.2. Near the disk, measured intensities of all lines fall off exponentially at different rates that can be used to determine the density scale-heights of the emitting plasma, since this emission is dominated by collisional excitation with an Ne-squared dependence. Assuming hydrostatic equilibrium, the intensity gradient for each line can then be converted into a 'scale-height temperature', which is found to be closely related to the ionization temperature of each line over the wide range of lines and solar conditions observed. Beyond a certain distance, intensity gradients of the cooler lines switch over to a flatter exponential slope, suggesting that this radiation is dominated by resonance scattering which varies as Ne to the first power. Such radiation should also be linearly polarized in the plane containing the line-of-sight and the solar center, a signature that would strongly confirm this interpretation.

This work was supported under NASA RTOP grants for SERTS and SOHO.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: Roger.J.Thomas@gsfc.nasa.gov

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.