In solar coronal loops, thermal non-equilibrium (TNE) is a phenomenon that can occur when the heating is both highly stratified and quasi-constant. Unambiguous observational identification of TNE would thus permit us to strongly constrain heating scenarios. While TNE is currently the standard interpretation of coronal rain, the long-term periodic evolution predicted by simulations has never been observed. However, the detection of long-period intensity pulsations (periods of several hours) has been recently reported with the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory/EIT, and this phenomenon appears to be very common in loops. Moreover, the three intensity-pulsation events that we recently studied with the Solar Dynamics Observatory/Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) show strong evidence for TNE in warm loops. In this paper, a realistic loop geometry from linear force-free field (LFFF) extrapolations is used as input to 1D hydrodynamic simulations. Our simulations show that, for the present loop geometry, the heating has to be asymmetrical to produce TNE. We analyze in detail one particular simulation that reproduces the average thermal behavior of one of the pulsating loop bundle observed with AIA. We compare the properties of this simulation with those deduced from the observations. The magnetic topology of the LFFF extrapolations points to the presence of sites of preferred reconnection at one footpoint, supporting the presence of asymmetric heating. In addition, we can reproduce the temporal large-scale intensity properties of the pulsating loops. This simulation further strengthens the interpretation of the observed pulsations as signatures of TNE. This consequently provides important information on the heating localization and timescale for these loops.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- February 2017
- Sun: corona;
- Sun: UV radiation;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- 17 pages, 12 figures, accepted for publication in The Astrophysical journal