Deciphering Solar Coronal Heating: Energizing Small-scale Loops through Surface Convection

Nóbrega-Siverio, D.; Moreno-Insertis, F.; Galsgaard, K.; Krikova, K.; Rouppe van der Voort, L.; Joshi, R.; Madjarska, M. S.
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The Astrophysical Journal

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The solar atmosphere is filled with clusters of hot small-scale loops commonly known as coronal bright points (CBPs). These ubiquitous structures stand out in the Sun by their strong X-ray and/or extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) emission for hours to days, which makes them a crucial piece when solving the solar coronal heating puzzle. In addition, they can be the source of coronal jets and small-scale filament eruptions. Here we present a novel 3D numerical model using the Bifrost code that explains the sustained CBP heating for several hours. We find that stochastic photospheric convective motions alone significantly stress the CBP magnetic field topology, leading to important Joule and viscous heating concentrated around the CBP's inner spine at a few megameters above the solar surface. We also detect continuous upflows with faint EUV signals resembling observational dark coronal jets and small-scale eruptions when Hα fibrils interact with the reconnection site. We validate our model by comparing simultaneous CBP observations from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Swedish 1‑m Solar Telescope (SST) with observable diagnostics calculated from the numerical results for EUV wavelengths as well as for the Hα line using the Multi3D synthesis code. Additionally, we provide synthetic observables to be compared with Hinode, Solar Orbiter, and the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS). Our results constitute a step forward in the understanding of the many different facets of the solar coronal heating problem.
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