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[en] The high-spatial frequency roughness of a mirror operating at extreme ultraviolet (EUV)wavelengths is crucial for the reflective performance and is subject to very stringent specifications. To understand and predict mirror performance, precision metrology is required for measuring the surface roughness. Zerodur mirror substrates made by two different polishing vendors for a suite of EUV telescopes for solar physics were characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM). The AFM measurements revealed features in the topography of each substrate that are associated with specific polishing techniques. Theoretical predictions of the mirror performance based on the AFM-measured high-spatial-frequency roughness are in good agreement with EUV reflectance measurements of the mirrors after multilayer coating
[en] We present a study of the structure and dynamics of quiescent filament channels observed by Hinode/XRT and STEREO/EUVI at the solar minimum 23/24 from 2006 November to 2008 December. For 12 channels identified on the solar disk (Group I channels), we find that the morphology of the structure on the two sides of the channel is asymmetric in both X-rays and EUV: the eastern side has curved features while the western side has straight features. We interpret the results in terms of a magnetic flux rope model. The asymmetry in the morphology is due to the variation in axial flux of the flux rope along the channel, which causes the field lines from one polarity to turn into the flux rope (curved feature), while the field lines from the other polarity are connected to very distant sources (straight). For most of the 68 channels identified by cavities at the east and west limbs (Group II channels), the asymmetry cannot be clearly identified, which is likely due to the fact that the axial flux may be relatively constant along such channels. Corresponding cavities are identified only for 5 of the 12 Group I channels, while Group II channels are identified for all of the 68 cavity pairs. The studied filament channels are often observed as dark channels in X-rays and EUV. Sheared loops within Group I channels are often seen in X-rays, but are rarely seen in Group II channels as shown in the X-ray Telescope daily synoptic observations. A survey of the dynamics of studied filament channels shows that filament eruptions occur at an average rate of 1.4 filament eruptions per channel per solar rotation.
[en] We present observations of hot plasma from solar eruptions recorded by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on the Solar Dynamics Observatory. AIA is the first narrowband instrument capable of taking images of hot plasma in the 5-15 MK range. We find that there are hot structures above flare loops, and that they are typically more diffuse and nebulous than the well-defined flare loops. Because of the narrowband response, high sensitivity, and high spatial resolution of AIA, these supra-arcade structures are visible in exquisite detail, particularly in the 131 A and 94 A channels. In one event, a C4.9 flare observed on 2010 November 3, hot plasma is seen to outline an erupting plasmoid and possibly a current sheet. We compare hot plasma observed with AIA to structures observed with the X-Ray Telescope on the Hinode mission and find that the plasma imaged in AIA contains more fine detail. These new AIA observations show that supra-arcade flare structures and coronal mass ejections are highly structured not only in space and time, but also in temperature. This thermal structuring is expected, based on modeling efforts, but has now been imaged directly for the first time over a large range of temperatures.
[en] We present a study of the flare/coronal mass ejection event that occurred in Active Region 11060 on 2010 April 8. This event also involves a filament eruption, EIT wave, and coronal dimming. Prior to the flare onset and filament eruption, both SDO/AIA and STEREO/EUVI observe a nearly horizontal filament ejection along the internal polarity inversion line, where flux cancellations frequently occur as observed by SDO/HMI. Using the flux-rope insertion method developed by van Ballegooijen, we construct a grid of magnetic field models using two magneto-frictional relaxation methods. We find that the poloidal flux is significantly reduced during the relaxation process, though one relaxation method preserves the poloidal flux better than the other. The best-fit pre-flare NLFFF model is constrained by matching the coronal loops observed by SDO/AIA and Hinode/XRT. We find that the axial flux in this model is very close to the threshold of instability. For the model that becomes unstable due to an increase of the axial flux, the reconnected field lines below the X-point closely match the observed highly sheared flare loops at the event onset. The footpoints of the erupting flux rope are located around the coronal dimming regions. Both observational and modeling results support the premise that this event may be initiated by catastrophic loss of equilibrium caused by an increase of the axial flux in the flux rope, which is driven by flux cancellations.
[en] One scenario proposed to explain the million degree solar corona is a finely stranded corona where each strand is heated by a rapid pulse. However, such fine structure has neither been resolved through direct imaging observations nor conclusively shown through indirect observations of extended superhot plasma. Recently, it has been shown that the observed difference in the appearance of cool and warm coronal loops (∼1 MK and ∼2-3 MK, respectively)-warm loops appearing 'fuzzier' than cool loops-can be explained by models of loops composed of subarcsecond strands, which are impulsively heated up to ∼10 MK. That work predicts that images of hot coronal loops (∼> 6 MK) should again show fine structure. Here we show that the predicted effect is indeed widely observed in an active region with the Solar Dynamics Observatory, thus supporting a scenario where impulsive heating of fine loop strands plays an important role in powering the active corona.
[en] Extreme ultraviolet spectra of C, O, F, Ne, Si, S, Ar, Ca, Fe, and Ni have been excited in an electron beam ion trap and studied with much higher resolution than available on Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in order to ascertain the spectral composition of the SDO observations. We presently show our findings in the wavelength range 124-134 Å, which encompasses the λ131 observation channel of the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA). While the general interpretation of the spectral composition of the λ131 Fe channel is being corroborated, a number of new lines have been observed that might help to improve the diagnostic value of the SDO/AIA data
[en] Extreme ultraviolet spectra of C, O, F, Ne, S, Ar, Fe, and Ni have been excited in an electron beam ion trap and studied with much higher resolution than available on the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in order to ascertain the spectral composition of the SDO/Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) observations. We present our findings in the wavelength range 182-200 Å, which, overall, corroborate the working models of how to interpret the SDO/AIA data. We find, however, that the inclusion of a number of additional lines might improve the data interpretation
[en] Magnetic reconnection between the open and closed magnetic fields in the corona is believed to play a crucial role in the corona/heliosphere coupling. At large scale, the exchange of open/closed connectivity is expected to occur in pseudo-streamer (PS) structures. However, there is neither clear observational evidence of how such coupling occurs in PSs, nor evidence for how the magnetic reconnection evolves. Using a newly developed technique, we enhance the off-limb magnetic fine structures observed with the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly and identify a PS-like feature located close to the northern coronal hole. We first identify that the magnetic topology associated with the observation is a PS, null-point (NP) related topology bounded by the open field. By comparing the magnetic field configuration with the EUV emission regions, we determined that most of the magnetic flux associated with plasma emission are small loops below the PS basic NP and open field bounding the PS topology. In order to interpret the evolution of the PS, we referred to a three-dimensional MHD interchange reconnection modeling the exchange of connectivity between small closed loops and the open field. The observed PS fine structures follow the dynamics of the magnetic field before and after reconnecting at the NP obtained by the interchange model. Moreover, the pattern of the EUV plasma emission is the same as the shape of the expected plasma emission location derived from the simulation. These morphological and dynamical similarities between the PS observations and the results from the simulation strongly suggest that the evolution of the PS, and in particular the opening/closing of the field, occurs via interchange/slipping reconnection at the basic NP of the PS. Besides identifying the mechanism at work in the large-scale coupling between the open and closed fields, our results highlight that interchange reconnection in PSs is a gradual physical process that differs from the impulsive reconnection of the solar-jet model.
[en] We present high-resolution laboratory measurements of the emission from various ions of C, N, O, F, Ne, S, Ar, Fe, and Ni in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength band centered around the λ211 Fe XIV channel of the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on the Solar Dynamics Observatory. While all of the strong iron lines in this region are well known, we note many weaker lines of iron that are not yet identified. The high resolution of our measurements also allows us to resolve several lines in Fe XI, Fe XII, and Fe XIII between 200 and 205 Å, whose identities were in question based on a disagreement between different databases. The spectra of the elements other than iron are much less known, and we find a multitude of lines that are not yet in the databases. For example, the CHIANTI database clearly disagrees with the NIST data listings on several of the argon lines we observe and also it contains only about half of the observed sulfur lines.
[en] A B1.7 two-ribbon flare occurred in a highly non-potential decaying active region near a coronal hole at 10:00 UT on 2008 May 17. This flare is 'large' in the sense that it involves the entire region, and it is associated with both a filament eruption and a coronal mass ejection. We present multi-wavelength observations from EUV (TRACE, STEREO/EUVI), X-rays (Hinode/XRT), and Hα (THEMIS, BBSO) prior to, during and after the flare. Prior to the flare, the region contained two filaments. The long J-shaped sheared loops corresponding to the southern filament were evolved from two short loop systems, which happened around 22:00 UT after a filament eruption on May 16. Formation of highly sheared loops in the southeastern part of the region was observed by STEREO 8 hr before the flare. We also perform nonlinear force-free field (NLFFF) modeling for the region at two times prior to the flare, using the flux rope insertion method. The models include the non-force-free effect of magnetic buoyancy in the photosphere. The best-fit NLFFF models show good fit to observations both in the corona (X-ray and EUV loops) and chromosphere (Hα filament). We find that the horizontal fields in the photosphere are relatively insensitive to the present of flux ropes in the corona. The axial flux of the flux rope in the NLFFF model on May 17 is twice that on May 16, and the model on May 17 is only marginally stable. We also find that the quasi-circular flare ribbons are associated with the separatrix between open and closed fields. This observation and NLFFF modeling suggest that this flare may be triggered by the reconnection at the null point on the separatrix surface.