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The Astrophysical Journal Letters


The quiet Sun (QS) magnetic network is known to contain dynamics which are indicative of non-potential fields. Non-potential magnetic fields forming “S-shaped” loop arcades can lead to the breakdown of static activity and have only been observed in high temperature X-ray coronal structures—some of which show eruptive behavior. Thus, analysis of this type of atmospheric structuring has been restricted to large-scale coronal fields. Here we provide the first identification of non-potential loop arcades exclusive to the QS supergranulation network. High-resolution Atmospheric Imaging Assembly data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory have allowed for the first observations of fine-scale “S-shaped” loop arcades spanning the network. We have investigated the magnetic footpoint flux evolution of these arcades from Heliospheric and Magnetic Imager data and find evidence of evolving footpoint flux imbalances accompanying the formation of these non-potential fields. The existence of such non-potentiality confirms that magnetic field dynamics leading to the build up of helicity exist at small scales. QS non-potentiality also suggests a self-similar formation process between the QS network and high temperature corona and the existence of self-organized criticality (SOC) in the form of loop-pair reconnection and helicity dissipation. We argue that this type of behavior could lead to eruptive forms of SOC as seen in active region (AR) and X-ray sigmoids if sufficient free magnetic energy is available. QS magnetic network dynamics may be considered as a coronal proxy at supergranular scales, and events confined to the network can even mimic those in coronal ARs.



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