Laboratory Exploration of Solar Energetic Phenomena

Author: Alexander, David

Source: Astrophysics and Space Science, Volume 307, Numbers 1-3, January 2007 , pp. 197-202(6)

Publisher: Springer

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The solar atmosphere displays a wide variety of dynamic phenomena driven by the interaction of magnetic fields and plasma. In particular, plasma jets in the solar chromosphere and corona, coronal heating, solar flares and coronal mass ejections all point to the presence of magnetic phenomena such as reconnection, flux cancellation, the formation of magnetic islands, and plasmoids. While we can observe the signatures and gross features of such phenomena we cannot probe the essential physics driving them, given the spatial resolution of current instrumentation. Flexible and well-controlled laboratory experiments, scaled to solar parameters, open unique opportunities to reproduce the relevant unsteady phenomena under various simulated solar conditions. The ability to carefully control these parameters in the laboratory allows one to diagnose the dynamical processes which occur and to apply the knowledge gained to the understanding of similar processes on the Sun, in addition directing future solar observations and models. This talk introduces the solar phenomena and reviews the contributions made by laboratory experimentation.

Keywords: Dynamic phenomena; Laboratory astrophysics; Magnetic reconnection; Plasma jets; Solar physics

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2007

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