Solar Physics Division Meeting 2000, June 19-22
Session 2. Corona, Solar Wind, Flares, CMEs, Solar-stellar, Instrumentation, Other
Display, Chair: J. Krall, Monday-Thursday, June 19, 2000, 8:00am-6:00pm, Forum Ballroom

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[2.02] Magnetic Heating in Action: Life Cycles of Small Open Coronal Structures

C.E. DeForest (Southwest Research Institute)

Magnetic reconnection and the accompanying release of energy are the prime candidate mechanism for coronal heating. Recent results (e.g. Hagenaar, Schrijver, and Title) from the SOHO/MDI instrument have shown that there is sufficient energy contained in the changing small-scale magnetic field to heat the corona. However, it is not at all clear that the continual reconnection of this ``magnetic carpet'' actually releases sufficient energy into the corona. Small, isolated, relatively long-lived structures such as coronal bright points and polar plumes are ideal places to search for the hypothetical energy deposition from the magnetic field into the quiet corona, because these structures are relatively isolated from the more complex surrounding corona. Polar plumes, in particular, require approximately continuous input of energy to exist and hence are good model structures for the quiet corona.

High sensitivity 32-minute averaged around-the-clock sequences of magnetograms from MDI have recently become available, allowing the first detailed studies comparing the behavior of polar plumes with their footpoints' detailed evolution over the complete life cycle of several plumes. I will present data from joint TRACE/MDI and EIT/MDI studies relating plume genesis, life, and death to changes in the small scale magnetic configuration within the polar coronal holes.

This work was funded through the SEC Guest Investigator program and via NASA grant NASG-5077.

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