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The Dynamic Formation of Pseudostreamers

AuthorScott, Roger; Pontin, David; Antiochos, Spiro; DeVore, Richard; Wyper, Peter;
KeywordsSolar Physics; Solar magnetic reconnection; Solar wind; 1476; 1504; 1534; Parker Data Used
AbstractStreamers and pseudostreamers structure the corona at the largest scales, as seen in both eclipse and coronagraph white-light images. Their inverted-goblet appearance encloses broad coronal loops at the Sun and tapers to a narrow radial stalk away from the star. The streamer associated with the global solar dipole magnetic field is long-lived, predominantly contains a single arcade of nested loops within it, and separates opposite-polarity interplanetary magnetic fields with the heliospheric current sheet (HCS) anchored at its apex. Pseudostreamers, on the other hand, are transient, enclose double arcades of nested loops, and separate like-polarity fields with a dense plasma sheet. We use numerical magnetohydrodynamic simulations to calculate, for the first time, the formation of pseudostreamers in response to photospheric magnetic-field evolution. Convective transport of a minority-polarity flux concentration, initially positioned under one side of a streamer, through the streamer boundary into the adjacent preexisting coronal hole forms the pseudostreamer. Interchange magnetic reconnection at the overlying coronal null point(s) governs the development of the pseudostreamer above—and of a new satellite coronal hole behind—the moving minority polarity. The reconnection dynamics liberate coronal-loop plasma that can escape into the heliosphere along so-called separatrix-web ("S-Web") arcs, which reach far from the HCS and the solar equatorial plane, and can explain the origin of high-latitude slow solar wind. We describe the implications of our results for in situ and remote-sensing observations of the corona and heliosphere as obtained, most recently, by Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter.
Year of Publication2021
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Number of Pages64
Date Published05/2021