Detection of a Fine-scale Discontinuity of Photospheric Magnetic Fields Associated with Solar Coronal Loop Brightenings
We present the transient brightening of a coronal loop and an associated fine-scale magnetic discontinuity detected in the photosphere. Utilizing the high-resolution data taken with the Fast Imaging Solar Spectrograph and InfraRed Imaging Magnetograph of the New Solar Telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory, we detect a narrow lane of intense horizontal magnetic field representing a magnetic discontinuity. It was visible as a dark lane partially encircling a pore in the continuum image, and was located near one of the footpoints of a small coronal loop that experienced transient brightenings. The horizontal field strength gradually increased before the loop brightening, and then rapidly decreased in the impulsive phase of the brightening, suggesting the increase of the magnetic non-potentiality at the loop footpoint and the sudden release of magnetic energy via magnetic reconnection. Our results support the nanoflare theory that coronal heating events are caused by magnetic reconnection events at fine-scale magnetic discontinuities.