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NON-EQUILIBRIUM HELIUM IONIZATION IN AN MHD SIMULATION OF THE SOLAR ATMOSPHERE
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Astronomy.
Number of Authors: 3
2016 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal, ISSN 0004-637X, E-ISSN 1538-4357, Vol. 817, no 2, 125Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The ionization state of the gas in the dynamic solar chromosphere can depart strongly from the instantaneous statistical equilibrium commonly assumed in numerical modeling. We improve on earlier simulations of the solar atmosphere that only included non-equilibrium hydrogen ionization by performing a 2D radiation-magnetohydrodynamics simulation featuring non-equilibrium ionization of both hydrogen and helium. The simulation includes the effect of hydrogen Lya and the EUV radiation from the corona on the ionization and heating of the atmosphere. Details on code implementation are given. We obtain helium ion fractions that are far from their equilibrium values. Comparison with models with local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) ionization shows that non-equilibrium helium ionization leads to higher temperatures in wavefronts and lower temperatures in the gas between shocks. Assuming LTE ionization results in a thermostat-like behavior with matter accumulating around the temperatures where the LTE ionization fractions change rapidly. Comparison of DEM curves computed from our models shows that non-equilibrium ionization leads to more radiating material in the temperature range 11-18 kK, compared to models with LTE helium ionization. We conclude that non-equilibrium helium ionization is important for the dynamics and thermal structure of the upper chromosphere and transition region. It might also help resolve the problem that intensities of chromospheric lines computed from current models are smaller than those observed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 817, no 2, 125
Keyword [en]
magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), methods: numerical, radiative transfer, Sun: atmosphere, Sun: chromosphere
National Category
Physical Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127867DOI: 10.3847/0004-637X/817/2/125ISI: 000369437900042OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-127867DiVA: diva2:940541
Available from: 2016-06-21 Created: 2016-03-14 Last updated: 2016-06-21Bibliographically approved

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Leenaarts, Jorrit
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