Helium line emissivities in the Solar Corona

G. Del Zanna, P. J. Storey, N. R. Badnell, V. Andretta

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Abstract

We present new collisional-radiative models (CRMs) for helium in the quiescent solar corona and predict the emissivities of the He and He+ lines to be observed by DKIST, Solar Orbiter, and Proba-3. We discuss in detail the rates we selected for these models, highlighting several shortcomings we have found in previous work. As no previous complete and self-consistent coronal CRM for helium existed, we have benchmarked our largest model at a density of 106 cm-3 and temperature of 20,000 K against recent CRMs developed for photoionized nebulae. We then present results for the outer solar corona, using new dielectronic recombination rates we have calculated, which increase the abundance of neutral helium by about a factor of 2. We also find that all optical triplet He i lines, and in particular the well-known He i 10830 and 5876 Å lines, are strongly affected by both photoexcitation and photoionization from the disk radiation and that extensive CRMs are required to obtain correct estimates. Close to the Sun, at an electron density of 108 cm-3 and temperature of 1 MK, we predict the emissivity of He i 10830 Å to be comparable to that of the strong Fe xiii coronal line at 10798 Å. However, we expect the He i emissivity to sharply fall in the outer corona, with respect to Fe xiii. We confirm that the He+ Lyα at 304 Å is also significantly affected by photoexcitation and is expected to be detectable as a strong coronal line up to several solar radii.

Original languageEnglish
Article number72
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume898
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • radiative processes
  • solar radiation
  • quiet solar corona
  • solar coronal lines
  • atomic physics
  • dielectronic recombination
  • collision processes
  • photoionization
  • transition probabilities
  • electron impact ionization

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