Observable Signatures of Energy Release in Braided Coronal Loops

D. I. Pontin (Lead / Corresponding author), M. Janvier, S. K. Tiwari, K. Galsaard, A. R. Winebarger, J. W. Cirtain

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We examine the turbulent relaxation of solar coronal loops containing non-trivial field line braiding. Such field line tangling in the corona has long been postulated in the context of coronal heating models. We focus on the observational signatures of energy release in such braided magnetic structures using MHD simulations and forward modelling tools. The aim is to answer the question: If energy release occurs in a coronal loop containing braided magnetic flux, should we expect a clearly observable signature in emissions? We demonstrate that the presence of braided magnetic field lines does not guarantee a braided appearance to the observed intensities. Observed intensities may – but need not necessarily – reveal the underlying braided nature of the magnetic field, depending on the degree and pattern of the field line tangling within the loop. However, in all cases considered the evolution of the braided loop is accompanied by localised heating regions as the loop relaxes. Factors that may influence the observational signatures are discussed. Recent high-resolution observations from Hi-C have claimed the first direct evidence of braided magnetic fields in the corona. Here we show that both the Hi-C data
and some of our simulations give the appearance of braiding at a range of scales.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Early online date8 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2017


  • Sun: atmosphere
  • Sun: magnetic topology
  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)


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