AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 55. Active Region Formation and Evolution
Solar, Display, Tuesday, June 1, 1999, 10:00am-7:00pm, Southeast Exhibit Hall

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[55.05] Statistical Properties of Magnetic Separators in Model Active Regions

B.T. Welsch, D.W. Longcope (MSU-Bozeman)

In the tenuous solar corona, the magnetic pressure greatly exceeds the gas pressure (\beta \ll 1). Hence, the entire coronal volume above an active region is permeated by magentic flux. Observations, however, reveal enhanced X-ray/EUV emission along only a small subset of field lines. Theoretical considerations suggest that these bright loops might run along particular topological boundaries in the magnetic field, known as separators. It is along these field lines that magnetic flux is exchanged from one topological domain to another, and, as a result of this reconnection process, that energy is released as the field relaxes to a less complex state. Consequently, knowledge of a field's topological structure allows one to make predictions about the X-ray/EUV loops in that field's configuration. Using simple active region models, theoretical predictions of the statistical properties of magnetic separators have been calculated. Coronal heating rates can be computed from these results. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ATM-9733424.

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