The fate of cool material in the hot corona: solar prominences and coronal rain

Wei Liu, Patrick Antolin, Xudong Sun, Jean-Claude Vial, Thomas Berger

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


As an important chain of the chromosphere-corona mass cycle, some of the million-degree hot coronal mass undergoes a radiative cooling instability and condenses into material at chromospheric or transition-region temperatures in two distinct forms - prominences and coronal rain (some of which eventually falls back to the chromosphere). A quiescent prominence usually consists of numerous long-lasting, filamentary downflow threads, while coronal rain consists of transient mass blobs falling at comparably higher speeds along well-defined paths. It remains puzzling why such material of similar temperatures exhibit contrasting morphologies and behaviors. We report recent SDO/AIA and IRIS observations that suggest different magnetic environments being responsible for such distinctions. Specifically, in a hybrid prominence-coronal rain complex structure, we found that the prominence material is formed and resides near magnetic null points that favor the radiative cooling process and provide possibly a high plasma-beta environment suitable for the existence of meandering prominence threads. As the cool material descends, it turns into coronal rain tied ontol ow-lying coronal loops in a likely low-beta environment. Such structures resemble to certain extent the so-called coronal spiders or cloud prominences, but the observations reported here provide critical new insights. We will discuss the broad physical implications of these observations for fundamental questions, such as coronal heating and beyond (e.g., in astrophysical and/or laboratory plasma environments).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017
EventAAS 48th Meeting Solar Physics Division - DoubleTree By Hilton Portland, Portland, United States
Duration: 21 Aug 201725 Aug 2017


ConferenceAAS 48th Meeting Solar Physics Division
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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