Self-Organized Braiding and the Structure of Coronal Loops
IOP Publishing / American Astronomical Society
The Parker model for heating of the solar corona involves reconnection of braided magnetic flux elements. Much of this braiding is thought to occur at as yet unresolved scales, for example, braiding of threads within an extreme-ultraviolet or X-ray loop. However, some braiding may be still visible at scales accessible to TRACE or Hinode. We suggest that attempts to estimate the amount of braiding at these scales must take into account the degree of coherence of the braid structure. In this paper, we examine the effect of reconnection on the structure of a braided magnetic field. We demonstrate that simple models of braided magnetic fields which balance the input of topological structure with reconnection evolve to a self-organized critical state. An initially random braid can become highly ordered, with coherence lengths obeying power-law distributions. The energy released during reconnection also obeys a power law. Our model gives more frequent (but smaller) energy releases nearer to the ends of a coronal loop.
Copyright © 2013 IOP Publishing
Vol. 705 (1), pp. 347 - 355