The Current Sheet Associated with the 2003 November 4 Coronal Mass Ejection: Density, Temperature, Thickness, and Line Width
In the wake of the 2003 November 4 coronal mass ejection associated with the largest solar flare of the last sunspot cycle, a current sheet (CS) was observed by the Ultraviolet Coronagraph Spectrometer (UVCS) as a narrow bright feature in the [Fe XVIII] (106.8 K) line. This is the first UV observation in which the CS evolution is followed from its onset. UV spectra provide diagnostics of electron temperature, emission measure, Doppler shift, line width, and size of the CS as function of time. Since the UVCS slit was inside the Mark IV K-coronameter (MK4) field of view, the combination of UV spectra and MK4 white light data provides estimates of the electron density and depth along the line of sight of the CS. The thickness of the CS in the [Fe XVIII] line is far larger than classical or anomalous resistivity would predict, and it might indicate an effective resistivity much larger than anomalous resistivity, such as that due to hyperdiffusion. The broad [Fe XVIII] line profiles in the CS cannot be explained as thermal widths. They result from a combination of bulk motions and turbulence. The Petschek reconnection mechanism and turbulent reconnection may be consistent with the observations.