The final Yohkoh SXT science nugget
We are going to summarize our nugget experience in a poster paper at the Winter 2002 AGU meeting in San Francisco, and make that an opportunity to discuss future plans with whomever. A new nugget series will almost certainly ensue, probably based on this model but with new players involved.
It is interesting to note, since so many of the Yohkoh scientific discoveries relate to coronal magnetism (perhaps all of them), that the pioneers were already keen on magnetic reconnection in 1984-1985.
|The frontispiece of the brief Concept Report, dated April 1985. It shows "magnetic islands" thought theoretically (and with some justification from the Earth's magnetosphere) to show how plasmoids might form accompanying magnetic reconnection. As the report said, "[Yohkoh] would be the first opportunity in any astrophysical context to form images of reconnecting magnetic fields." Brave words!|
|A cartoon from the winning U.S. proposal, presciently showing what we now think of as the "three-legged loop" model of loop interaction (Machado-Nishio-Hanaoka). It still makes sense but we still don't know the most important parts of the story.|
Why single out magnetic reconnection in this final nugget? The reason is that, in spite of a great deal of observational and theoretical progress, we remain stumped by the simplest of questions: Can the cause of one of our events be attributed to something called "magnetic reconnection"? How are our abundant accelerated particles related to "magnetic reconnection"? When will "magnetic reconnection" occur? Some hints are in the nuggets, many facts are in papers published during the Yohkoh era, but we really cannot yet answer these questions convincingly.
October 25, 2002Hugh Hudson hudson@firstname.lastname@example.org