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The Effect of Hydrostatic Weighting on the Vertical Temperature Structure of the Solar Corona View all abstracts by submitter

Markus J Aschwanden   Submitted: 2000-04-07 13:05

We investigate the effect of hydrostatic scale heights {lambda}(T) in coronal loops on the determination of the vertical temperature structure T(h) of the solar corona. Every method that determines an average temperature at a particular line-of-sight from optically thin emission (e.g. in EUV or soft X-ray wavelengths) of a mutli-temperature plasma, is subject to the emission measure- measure-weighted contributions dEM(T)/dT from different temperatures. Because most of the coronal structures (along open or closed field lines) are close to hydrostatic equilibrium, the hydrostatic temperature scale height introduces a height-dependent weighting function that causes a systematic bias in the determination of the temperature structure T(h) as function of altitude h. The net effect is that the averaged temperature seems to increase with altitude, dT(h)/dh > 0, even if every coronal loop is isothermal (at different temperatures). We simulate this effect with differential emission measure distributions observed by {sl SERTS} for an instrument with a broadband temperature filter such as {sl Yohkoh/SXT} and find that the apparent temperature increase due to hydrostatic weighting is of order Delta T approx T (h/rsun). We suggest that this effect largely explains the systematic temperature increase in the upper corona reported in recent studies (e.g. by Sturrock et al., Wheatland et al., or Priest et al.), rather than being an intrinsic signature of a coronal heating mechanism.

Authors: Aschwanden,M.J. and Nitta,N.
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Publication Status: 2000, ApJ 535, L59-L62
Last Modified: 2000-08-31 08:01
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