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Streamer EvaporationEvaporation is the consequence of slow plasma heating near the tops of streamers where the plasma is only weakly contained by the magnetic field. The form it takes is the slow opening of field lines at the top of the streamer and transient formation of new solar wind. It was discovered in polytropic model calculations, where due to the absence of other energy loss mechanisms in magnetostatic streamers, its ultimate endpoint is the complete evaporation of the streamer. This takes, for plausible heating rates, weeks to months in these models. Of course streamers do not behave this way, for more than one reason. One is that there are losses due to thermal conduction to the base of the streamer and radiation from the transition region. Another is that streamer heating must have a characteristic time constant and depend on the ambient physical conditions. We use our global Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) model with thermal conduction to examine a few examples of the effect of changing the heating scale height and of making ad hoc choices for how the heating depends on ambient conditions. At the same time, we apply and extend the analytic model of streamers, which showed that streamers will be unable to contain plasma for temperatures near the cusp greater than about 2xl0(exp 6) K. Slow solar wind is observed to come from streamers through transient releases. A scenario for this that is consistent with the above physical process is that heating increases the near-cusp temperature until field lines there are forced open. The subsequent evacuation of the flux tubes by the newly forming slow wind decreases the temperature and heating until the flux tubes are able to reclose. Then, over a longer time scale, heating begins to again refill the flux tubes with plasma and increase the temperature until the cycle repeats itself. The calculations we report here are first steps towards quantitative evaluation of this scenario.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Suess, Steven T.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Wang, A. H.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Wu, Shi T.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Nerney, S.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1998
Subject Category
Plasma Physics
Meeting Information
SOHO(Northeast Harbor, ME)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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