Inferring the Coronal Density Irregularity from EUV Spectra
Understanding the density structure of the solar corona is important for modeling both coronal heating and the solar wind. Direct measurements are difficult because of line-of-sight integration and possible unresolved structures. We present a new method for quantifying such structures using density-sensitive extreme ultraviolet line intensities to derive a density irregularity parameter, a relative measure of the amount of structure along the line of sight. We also present a simple model to relate the inferred irregularities to physical quantities, such as the filling factor and density contrast. For quiet-Sun regions and interplume regions of coronal holes, we find a density contrast of at least a factor of 3–10 and corresponding filling factors of about 10%–20%. Our results are in rough agreement with other estimates of the density structures in these regions. The irregularity diagnostic provides a useful relative measure of unresolved structure in various regions of the corona.
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