Vol. 7 (2010) > lrsp-2010-5

doi: 10.12942/lrsp-2010-5
Living Rev. Solar Phys. 7 (2010), 5

Coronal Loops: Observations and Modeling of Confined Plasma

1 Dipartimento di Fisica & Chimica, Universitàdi Palermo, Piazza Parlamento 1, 90134 Palermo, Italy

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Article Abstract

Coronal loops are the building blocks of the X-ray bright solar corona. They owe their brightness to the dense confined plasma, and this review focuses on loops mostly as structures confining plasma. After a brief historical overview, the review is divided into two separate but not independent parts: the first illustrates the observational framework, the second reviews the theoretical knowledge. Quiescent loops and their confined plasma are considered, and therefore topics such as loop oscillations and flaring loops (except for non-solar ones which provide information on stellar loops) are not specifically addressed here. The observational section discusses loop classification and populations, and then describes the morphology of coronal loops, its relationship with the magnetic field, and the concept of loops as multi-stranded structures. The following part of this section is devoted to the characteristics of the loop plasma and of its thermal structure in particular, according to the classification into hot, warm, and cool loops. Then, temporal analyses of loops and the observations of plasma dynamics and flows are illustrated. In the modeling section some basics of loop physics are provided, supplying some fundamental scaling laws and timescales, a useful tool for consultation. The concept of loop modeling is introduced and models are distinguished between those treating loops as monolithic and static, and those resolving loops into thin and dynamic strands. Then, more specific discussions address modeling the loop fine structure and the plasma flowing along the loops. Special attention is devoted to the question of loop heating, with separate discussion of wave (AC) and impulsive (DC) heating. Finally, a brief discussion about stellar X-ray emitting structures related to coronal loops is included and followed by conclusions and open questions.

Keywords: Coronal loops, Corona

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Article Citation

Since a Living Reviews in Solar Physics article may evolve over time, please cite the access <date>, which uniquely identifies the version of the article you are referring to:

Fabio Reale,
"Coronal Loops: Observations and Modeling of Confined Plasma ",
Living Rev. Solar Phys. 7,  (2010),  5. URL (cited on <date>):

Article History

ORIGINAL http://www.livingreviews.org/lrsp-2010-5
Title Coronal Loops: Observations and Modeling of Confined Plasma
Author Fabio Reale
Date accepted 28 October 2010, published 8 November 2010
UPDATE http://www.livingreviews.org/lrsp-2014-4
Title Coronal Loops: Observations and Modeling of Confined Plasma
Author Fabio Reale
Date accepted 23 June 2014, published 29 July 2014
Changes Substantially revised and updated the previous version. Added 4 new figures. The number of references increased from 396 to 557.
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