Space Science Series of ISSI by Springer (Origin and Dynamics of Solar Magnetism, Eds.: Thompson, Culhane, Kosovichev, Nordlund, Solanki, Zahn, Balogh)
and in Space Science Reviews
144, Issue1 (2009), 317 (appeared online in 2008)
(Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, Postboks 1029 Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway)
(MPI f. Sonnensystemforschung, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany)
(Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
Coupling from the photosphere to the chromosphere and the
The atmosphere of the Sun is characterized by a complex interplay of competing physical processes: convection, radiation, conduction, and magnetic fields. The most obvious imprint of the solar convection and its overshooting in the low atmosphere is the granulation pattern. Beside this dominating scale there is a more or less smooth distribution of spatial scales, both towards smaller and larger scales, making the Sun essentially a multi-scale object. Convection and overshooting give the photosphere its face but also act as drivers for the layers above, namely the chromosphere and corona. The magnetic field configuration effectively couples the atmospheric layers on a multitude of spatial scales, for instance in the form of loops that are anchored in the convection zone and continue through the atmosphere up into the chromosphere and corona. The magnetic field is also an important structuring agent for the small, granulation-size scales, although (hydrodynamic) shock waves also play an important role --- especially in the internetwork atmosphere where mostly weak fields prevail. Based on recent results from observations and numerical simulations, we attempt to present a comprehensive picture of the atmosphere of the quiet Sun as a highly intermittent and dynamic system.