Coronal Magnetism: Hanle Effect in UV and IR Spectral Lines

Monday, 15 December 2014
Nour-Eddine Raouafi, Applied Physics Laboratory Johns Hopkins, Laurel, MD, United States and Pete Riley, Predictive Science Inc., San Diego, CA, United States
The plasma thermodynamics in the solar upper atmosphere, particularly in the corona, are dominated by the magnetic field, which controls the flow and dissipation of energy. The relative lack of knowledge of the coronal vector magnetic field is a major handicap for the progress in coronal physics. This makes the development of measurement methods of coronal magnetic fields a high priority in solar physics. The Hanle effect in the UV and IR spectral lines is a largely unexplored diagnostic. Here we use magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations to study the magnitude of the signal to be expected for typical coronal magnetic fields for selected spectral lines in the UV and IR wavelength ranges, namely the H I Lyman series (i.e., α, β, and γ), O VI 103.2 nm line, and the He I 1083 nm line. We show that the selected lines may be useful for the diagnostic of coronal magnetic fields. We also show that the combination of polarization measurements of spectral lines with different sensitivities to the Hanle effect may be most appropriate for the interpretation of the data. We propose that UV coronal magnetic field mapper should be a central part of the science payload of any future spacebased solar observatory.