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Small-scale EUV features as the drivers of coronal upflows in the quiet Sun

AuthorSchwanitz, Conrad; Harra, Louise; Mandrini, Cristina; Sterling, Alphonse; Raouafi, Nour; Cormack, Cecilia; Berghmans, David; Auchère, Fr\; Barczynski, Krzysztof; Cuadrado, Regina; Buchlin, Eric; Kraaikamp, Emil; Long, David; Parenti, Susanna; Peter, Hardi; Rodriguez, Luciano; Schühle, Udo; Smith, Phil; Teriaca, Luca; Verbeeck, Cis; Zhukov, Andrei;
KeywordsParker Data Used; Sun: corona; Solar wind; Sun: UV radiation
AbstractContext. Coronal upflows in the quiet Sun are seen in a wide range of features, including jets and filament eruptions. The in situ measurements from Parker Solar Probe within \ensuremath\approx0.2 au have demonstrated that the solar wind is highly structured, showing abrupt and near-ubiquitous magnetic field reversals (i.e., switchbacks) on different timescales. The source of these structures has been associated with supergranular structures on the solar disc. This raises the question of whether there are additional small coronal features that contribute energy to the corona and produce plasma that potentially feeds into the solar wind. \ Aims: During the Solar Orbiter first science perihelion, high- resolution images of the solar corona were recorded using the Extreme Ultraviolet High Resolution Imager (HRI$_EUV$) from the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI). The Hinode spacecraft was also observing at the same location providing coronal spectroscopic measurements. Combining the two datasets allows us to determine the cause of the weak upflows observed in the quiet Sun and the associated activity. \ Methods: We used a multi-spacecraft approach to characterise regions of upflows. The upflows were identified in the Fe XII emission line by the Hinode EUV Imaging Spectrometer (EIS). We then used imaging data from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO/AIA) and the High Resolution Imagers (HRI) from EUI on board the Solar Orbiter to identify coronal features and magnetic field data from the SDO Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI). Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) observations were also used to understand the photospheric and chromospheric driving mechanisms. \ Results: We have identified two regions of coronal upflows in the quiet Sun, with respective sizes and lifetimes of (20 Mm$^2$, 20 min) and (180 Mm$^2$, several hours), which are contrasting dynamic events. Both examples show weak flux cancellation, indicating that the source of the upflows and enhancements is related to the magnetic field changes. The first event, a larger upflow region, shows velocities of up to \ensuremath-8.6 km s$^\ensuremath-1$ at the footpoint of a complex loop structure. We observe several distinct extreme ultraviolet (EUV) features including frequent loop brightenings and plasma blobs travelling along closed coronal loops. The second upflow region has velocities of up to \ensuremath-7.2 km s$^\ensuremath-1$. Within it, a complex EUV feature that lasts for about 20 min can be seen. This main feature has several substructures. During its appearance, a clear mini- filament eruption takes place at its location, before the EUV feature disappears. \ Conclusions: Two features, with contrasting properties, show upflows with comparable magnitudes. The first event, a complex loop structure, shares several similarities with active region upflows. The second one, a complex small-scale feature that could not have been well resolved with previous instruments, triggered a cascade of events, including a mini-filament that lead to a measurable upflow. This is remarkable for an EUV feature that many instruments can barely resolve. The complexity of the two events, including small loop brightenings and travelling plasma blobs for the first and EUV small-scale loops and mini-filament for the second one would not have been identifiable as the sources of upflow without an instrument with the spatial resolution of HRI$_EUV$ at this distance to the Sun. These results reinforce the importance of the smallest-scale features in the Sun and their potential relevance for and impact on the solar corona and the solar wind.
Year of Publication2023
Number of PagesA219
Date Publishedjun