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Solar corona heating by axion quark nugget dark matter

AuthorRaza, Nayyer; Van Waerbeke, Ludovic; Zhitnitsky, Ariel;
KeywordsAstrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics; Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena; Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics; High Energy Physics - Phenomenology; parker solar probe; Solar Probe Plus

In this work we advocate for the idea that two seemingly unrelated 80-year-old mysteries\textemdashthe nature of dark matter and the high temperature of the million degree solar corona\textemdashmay have resolutions that lie within the same physical framework. The current paradigm is that the corona is heated by nanoflares, which were originally proposed as miniature versions of the observed solar flares. It was recently suggested that the nanoflares could be identified as annihilation events of the nuggets from the axion quark nugget (AQN) dark matter model. This model was invented as an explanation of the observed ratio Ωdark̃Ωvisible, based only on cosmological and particle physics considerations. In this new paradigm, the AQN particles moving through the coronal plasma and annihilating with normal matter can lead to the drastic change of temperatures seen in the Sun\textquoterights transition region (TR), and significantly contribute to the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) excess of 1027 erg s-1 . To test this proposal, we perform numerical simulations with a realistically modeled AQN particle distribution and explore how the nuggets interact with the coronal plasma. Remarkably, our simulations predict the correct energy budget for the solar corona, and show that the energy injection mostly occurs at an altitude of around 2000 km, which is where the TR lies. Therefore, we propose that these long unresolved mysteries could be two sides of the same coin. We make several predictions based on this proposal, some of which could be tested by the recently launched NASA mission, the Parker Solar Probe.

Year of Publication2018
JournalPhysical Review D
Number of Pages103527
Date Published11/2018