The term "ultraviolet (UV) burst" is introduced to describe small, intense, transient brightenings in ultraviolet images of solar active regions. We inventorize their properties and provide a definition based on image sequences in transition-region lines. Coronal signatures are rare, and most bursts are associated with small-scale, canceling opposite-polarity fields in the photosphere that occur in emerging flux regions, moving magnetic features in sunspot moats, and sunspot light bridges. We also compare UV bursts with similar transition-region phenomena found previously in solar ultraviolet spectrometry and with similar phenomena at optical wavelengths, in particular Ellerman bombs. Akin to the latter, UV bursts are probably small-scale magnetic reconnection events occurring in the low atmosphere, at photospheric and/or chromospheric heights. Their intense emission in lines with optically thin formation gives unique diagnostic opportunities for studying the physics of magnetic reconnection in the low solar atmosphere.
We present a data pipeline for the newly installed SST/CHROMIS imaging spectrometer. The aim is to provide observers with a user-friendly data pipeline, that delivers science-ready data with the metadata needed for archival. We generalized the CRISPRED data pipeline for multiple instruments and added metadata according to recommendations worked out as part of the SOLARNET project. We made improvements to several steps in the pipeline, including the MOMFBD image restoration. A part of that is a new fork of the MOMFBD program called REDUX, with several new features that are needed and/or used in the new pipeline. The CRISPEX data viewer has been updated to accommodate data cubes stored in this format. The improvements will be made available for CRISP data processing when the new code base takes over the responsibility also for that instrument. The pipeline code, as well as REDUX and CRISPEX are all freely available through git repositories or web download.
Magnetic reconnection is thought to drive a wide variety of dynamic phenomena in the solar atmosphere. Yet the detailed physical mechanisms driving reconnection are difficult to discern in the remote sensing observations that are used to study the solar atmosphere. In this paper we exploit the high-resolution instruments Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) and the new CHROMIS Fabry-Perot instrument at the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) to identify the intermittency of magnetic reconnection and its association with the formation of plasmoids in so-called UV bursts in the low solar atmosphere. The Si IV 1403A UV burst spectra from the transition region show evidence of highly broadened line profiles with often non-Gaussian and triangular shapes, in addition to signatures of bidirectional flows. Such profiles had previously been linked, in idealized numerical simulations, to magnetic reconnection driven by the plasmoid instability. Simultaneous CHROMIS images in the chromospheric Ca II K 3934A line now provide compelling evidence for the presence of plasmoids, by revealing highly dynamic and rapidly moving brightenings that are smaller than 0.2 arcsec and that evolve on timescales of order seconds. Our interpretation of the observations is supported by detailed comparisons with synthetic observables from advanced numerical simulations of magnetic reconnection and associated plasmoids in the chromosphere. Our results highlight how subarcsecond imaging spectroscopy sensitive to a wide range of temperatures combined with advanced numerical simulations that are realistic enough to compare with observations can directly reveal the small-scale physical processes that drive the wide range of phenomena in the solar atmosphere.
Flare-driven coronal rain can manifest from rapidly cooled plasma condensations near coronal loop-tops in thermally unstable post-flare arcades. We detect 5 phases that characterise the post-flare decay: heating, evaporation, conductive cooling dominance for ~120 s, radiative / enthalpy cooling dominance for ~4700 s and finally catastrophic cooling occurring within 35-124 s leading to rain strands with s periodicity of 55-70 s. We find an excellent agreement between the observations and model predictions of the dominant cooling timescales and the onset of catastrophic cooling. At the rain formation site we detect co-moving, multi-thermal rain clumps that undergo catastrophic cooling from ~1 MK to ~22000 K. During catastrophic cooling the plasma cools at a maximum rate of 22700 K s-1 in multiple loop-top sources. We calculated the density of the EUV plasma from the DEM of the multi-thermal source employing regularised inversion. Assuming a pressure balance, we estimate the density of the chromospheric component of rain to be 9.21x10^11 +-1.76x10^11 cm-3 which is comparable with quiescent coronal rain densities. With up to 8 parallel strands in the EUV loop cross section, we calculate the mass loss rate from the post-flare arcade to be as much as 1.98x10^12 +/-4.95x10^11 g s-1. Finally, we reveal a close proximity between the model predictions of 10^5.8 K and the observed properties between 10^5.9 K and 10^6.2 K, that defines the temperature onset of catastrophic cooling. The close correspondence between the observations and numerical models suggests that indeed acoustic waves (with a sound travel time of 68 s) could play an important role in redistributing energy and sustaining the enthalpy-based radiative cooling.
We describe a new quiet-Sun phenomenon which we call "Quiet-Sun Ellerman-like Brightenings" (QSEB). QSEBs are similar to Ellerman bombs (EB) in some respects but differ significantly in others. EBs are transient brightenings of the wings of the Balmer H-alpha line that mark strong-field photospheric reconnection in complex active regions. QSEBs are similar but smaller and less intense Balmer-wing brightenings that occur in quiet areas away from active regions. In the H-alpha wing we measure typical lengths of less than 0.5 arcsec, widths of 0.21 arcsec, and lifetimes of less than a minute. We discovered them using high-quality H-alpha imaging spectrometry from the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) and show that in lesser-quality data they cannot be distinguished from more ubiquitous facular brightenings, nor in the ultraviolet diagnostics currently available from space platforms. We add evidence from concurrent SST spectropolarimetry that QSEBs also mark photospheric reconnection events, but in quiet regions on the solar surface.
Penumbral microjets are short-lived, fine-structured and bright jets that are generally observed in chromospheric imaging of the penumbra of sunspots. Here we investigate their potential transition region signature, by combining observations with the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) in the Ca II H and Ca II 8542Å lines with ultraviolet imaging and spectroscopy obtained with the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), which includes the C II 1334/1335Å, Si IV 1394/1403Å and Mg II h & k 2803/2796Å lines. We find a clear corresponding signal in the IRIS Mg II k, C II and Si IV slit-jaw images, typically offset spatially from the Ca II signature in the direction along the jets: from base to top, the penumbral microjets are predominantly visible in Ca II, Mg II k and C II/Si IV, suggesting progressive heating to transition region temperatures along the jet extent. Hence, these results support the suggestion from earlier studies that penumbral microjets may heat to transition region temperatures.
Ellerman bombs are transient brightenings of the extended wings of the solar Balmer lines in emerging active regions. We describe their properties in the ultraviolet lines sampled by the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), using simultaneous imaging spectroscopy in H$\alpha$ with the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) and ultraviolet images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory for Ellerman bomb detection and identification. We select multiple co-observed Ellerman bombs for detailed analysis. The IRIS spectra strengthen the view that Ellerman bombs mark reconnection between bipolar kilogauss fluxtubes with the reconnection and the resulting bi-directional jet located within the solar photosphere and shielded by overlying chromospheric fibrils in the cores of strong lines. The spectra suggest that the reconnecting photospheric gas underneath is heated sufficiently to momentarily reach stages of ionization normally assigned to the transition region and the corona. We also analyze similar outburst phenomena that we classify as small flaring arch filaments and ascribe to higher-located reconnection. They have different morphology and produce hot arches in million-Kelvin diagnostics.
Ellerman bombs are transient brightenings of the wings of the solar Balmer lines that mark reconnection in the photosphere. Ellerman noted in 1917 that he did not observe such brightenings in the Na I D and Mg I b lines. This non-visibility should constrain EB interpretation, but has not been addressed in published bomb modeling. We therefore test Ellerman's observation and confirm it using high-quality imaging spectrometry with the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope. However, we find diffuse brightness in these lines that seems to result from prior EBs. We tentatively suggest this is a post-bomb hot-cloud phenomenon also found in recent EB spectroscopy in the ultraviolet.
In this work, we analyse coordinated observations spanning chromospheric, TR and coronal temperatures at very high resolution which reveal essential characteristics of thermally unstable plasmas. Coronal rain is found to be a highly multi-thermal phenomenon with a high degree of co-spatiality in the multi-wavelength emission. EUV darkening and quasi-periodic intensity variations are found to be strongly correlated to coronal rain showers. Progressive cooling of coronal rain is observed, leading to a height dependence of the emission. A fast-slow two-step catastrophic cooling progression is found, which may reflect the transition to optically thick plasma states. The intermittent and clumpy appearance of coronal rain at coronal heights becomes more continuous and persistent at chromospheric heights just before impact, mainly due to a funnel effect from the observed expansion of the magnetic field. Strong density inhomogeneities on spatial scales of 0.2"-0.5" are found, in which TR to chromospheric temperature transition occurs at the lowest detectable scales. The shape of the distribution of coronal rain widths is found to be independent of temperature with peaks close to the resolution limit of each telescope, ranging from 0.2" to 0.8". However we find a sharp increase of clump numbers at the coolest wavelengths and especially at higher resolution, suggesting that the bulk of the rain distribution remains undetected. Rain clumps appear organised in strands in both chromospheric and TR temperatures, suggesting an important role of thermal instability in the shaping of fundamental loop substructure. We further find structure reminiscent of the MHD thermal mode. Rain core densities are estimated to vary between 2x10^10 cm^-3 and 2.5x10^11 cm^-3 leading to significant downward mass fluxes per loop of 1-5x10^9 g s^-1, suggesting a major role in the chromosphere-corona mass cycle.
We use high-resolution imaging spectroscopy with the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) to study the transient brightenings of the wings of the Balmer Halpha line in emerging active regions that are called Ellerman bombs. Simultaneous sampling of Ca II 854.2 nm with the SST confirms that most Ellerman bombs occur also in the wings of this line, but with markedly different morphology. Simultaneous images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) show that Ellerman bombs are also detectable in the photospheric 170 nm continuum, again with differing morphology. They are also observable in 160 nm SDO images, but with much contamination from C IV emission in transition-region features. Simultaneous SST spectropolarimetry in Fe I 630.1 nm shows that Ellerman bombs occur at sites of strong-field magnetic flux cancelation between small bipolar strong-field patches that rapidly move together over the solar surface. Simultaneous SDO images in He II 30.4 nm, Fe IX 17.1 nm, and Fe XIV 21.1 nm show no clear effect of the Ellerman bombs on the overlying transition region and corona. These results strengthen our earlier suggestion, based on Halpha morphology alone, that the Ellerman bomb phenomenon is a purely photospheric reconnection phenomenon.
Ellerman bombs are short-lived brightenings of the outer wings of Halpha that occur in active regions with much flux emergence. We point out fads and fallacies in the extensive Ellerman bomb literature, discuss their appearance in various spectral diagnostics, and advocate their use as indicators of field reconfiguration in active-region topography using AIA 1700 A images.
Small and elongated, cool and dense blob-like structures are being reported with high resolution telescopes in physically different regions throughout the solar atmosphere. Their detection and the understanding of their formation, morphology and thermodynamical characteristics can provide important information on their hosting environment, especially concerning the magnetic field, whose understanding constitutes a major problem in solar physics. An example of such blobs is coronal rain, a phenomenon of thermal non- equilibrium observed in active region loops, which consists of cool and dense chromospheric blobs falling along loop-like paths from coronal heights. So far, only off-limb coronal rain has been observed and few reports on the phenomenon exist. In the present work, several datasets of on-disk H\alpha observations with the CRisp Imaging SpectroPolarimeter (CRISP) at the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) are analyzed. A special family of on-disk blobs is selected for each dataset and a statistical analysis is carried out on their dynamics, morphology and temperatures. All characteristics present distributions which are very similar to reported coronal rain statistics. We discuss possible interpretations considering other similar blob-like structures reported so far and show that a coronal rain interpretation is the most likely one. Their chromospheric nature and the projection effects (which eliminate all direct possibility of height estimation) on one side, and their small sizes, fast dynamics, and especially, their faint character (offering low contrast with the background intensity) on the other side, are found as the main causes for the absence until now of the detection of this on-disk coronal rain counterpart.
High-quality imaging spectroscopy in the H\alpha line, obtained with the CRisp Imaging SpectroPolarimeter (CRISP) at the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope (SST) at La Palma and covering a small sunspot and its surroundings, are studied. They exhibit ubiquitous flows both along fibrils making up the chromospheric canopy away from the spot and in the superpenumbra. We term these flows "flocculent" to describe their intermittent character, that is morphologically reminiscent of coronal rain. The flocculent flows are investigated further in order to determine their dynamic and morphological properties. For the measurement of their characteristic velocities, accelerations and sizes, we employ a new versatile analysis tool, the CRisp SPectral EXplorer (CRISPEX), which we describe in detail. Absolute velocities on the order of 7.2-82.4 km/s are found, with an average value of 36.5\pm5.9 km/s and slightly higher typical velocities for features moving towards the sunspot than away. These velocities are much higher than those determined from the shift of the line core, which shows patches around the sunspot with velocity enhancements of up to 10-15 km/s (both red- and blueshifted). Accelerations are determined for a subsample of features, that show clear accelerating or decelerating behavior, yielding an average of 270\pm63 m/s^2 and 149\pm63 m/s^2 for accelerating and decelerating features, respectively. Typical flocculent features measure 627\pm44 km in length and 304\pm30 km in width. On average 68 features are detected per minute, with an average lifetime of 67.7\pm8.8 s. The dynamics and phenomenology of the flocculent flows suggest they may be driven by a siphon flow, where the flocculence could arise from a density perturbation close to one of the footpoints or along the loop structure.
The tropical wisdom that when it is hot and dense we can expect rain might also apply to the Sun. Indeed, observations and numerical simulations have shown that strong heating at footpoints of loops, as is the case for active regions, puts their coronae out of thermal equilibrium, which can lead to a phenomenon known as catastrophic cooling. Following local pressure loss in the corona, hot plasma locally condenses in these loops and dramatically cools down to chromospheric temperatures. These blobs become bright in H-alpha and Ca II H in time scales of minutes, and their dynamics seem to be subject more to internal pressure changes in the loop rather than to gravity. They thus become trackers of the magnetic field, which results in the spectacular coronal rain that is observed falling down coronal loops. In this work we report on high resolution observations of coronal rain with the Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) on Hinode and CRISP at the Swedish Solar Telescope (SST). A statistical study is performed in which properties such as velocities and accelerations of coronal rain are derived. We show how this phenomenon can constitute a diagnostic tool for the internal physical conditions inside loops. Furthermore, we analyze transverse oscillations of strand-like condensations composing coronal rain falling in a loop, and discuss the possible nature of the wave. This points to the important role that coronal rain can play in the fields of coronal heating and coronal seismology.
High-resolution imaging-spectroscopy movies of solar active region NOAA 10998 obtained with the CRisp Imaging SpectroPolarimeter (CRISP) at the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope show very bright, rapidly flickering, flame-like features that appear intermittently in the wings of the Balmer H-alpha line in a region with moat flows and likely some flux emergence. They show up at regular H-alpha blue-wing bright points that outline magnetic network, but flare upward with much larger brightness and distinct "jet" morphology seen from aside in the limbward view of these movies. We classify these features as Ellerman bombs and present a morphological study of their appearance at the unprecedented spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution of these observations. The bombs appear along magnetic network with footpoint extents up to 900km. They show apparent travel away from the spot along the pre-existing network at speeds of about 1 km/s. The bombs flare repetitively with much rapid variation at time scales of seconds only, in the form of upward jet-shaped brightness features. These reach heights of 600-1200km and tend to show blueshifts; some show bi-directional Doppler signature, and some seem accompanied with an H-alpha surge. They are not seen in the core of H-alpha due to shielding by overlying chromospheric fibrils. The network where they originate has normal properties. The morphology of these jets strongly supports deep-seated photospheric reconnection of emergent or moat-driven magnetic flux with pre-existing strong vertical network fields as the mechanism underlying the Ellerman bomb phenomenon.
Recently a second type of spicules was discovered at the solar limb with the Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) onboard the Japanese Hinode spacecraft. These previously unrecognized type II spicules are thin chromospheric jets that are shorter-lived (10-60 s) and that show much higher apparent upward velocities (of order 50-100 km/s) than the classical spicules. Since they have been implicated in providing hot plasma to coronal loops, their formation, evolution and properties are important ingredients for a better understanding of the mass and energy balance of the low solar atmosphere. Here we report on the discovery of the disk counterparts of type II spicules using spectral imaging data in the Ca II 854.2 nm and Halpha lines with the CRisp Imaging SpectroPolarimeter (CRISP) at the Swedish Solar Telescope (SST) in La Palma. We find rapid blueward excursions in the line profiles of both chromospheric lines that correspond to thin, jet-like features that show apparent velocities of order 50 km/s. These blueward excursions seem to form a separate absorbing component with Doppler shifts of order 20 and 50 km/s for the Ca II 854.2 nm and Halpha line respectively. We show that the appearance, lifetimes, longitudinal and transverse velocities and occurrence rate of these rapid blue excursions on the disk are very similar to those of the type II spicules at the limb. A detailed study of the spectral line profiles in these events suggests that plasma is accelerated along the jet, and plasma is being heated throughout the short lifetime of the event.