EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 501, Number 3, July III 2009
Page(s) L15 - L18
Section Letters
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912242
Published online 22 June 2009
A&A 501, L15-L18 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200912242


Signatures of Alfvén waves in the polar coronal holes as seen by EIS/Hinode

D. Banerjee1, D. Pérez-Suárez2, and J. G. Doyle2

1  Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore 560034, India
    e-mail: dipu@iiap.res.in
2  Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh BT61 9DG, N. Ireland

Received 1 April 2009 / Accepted 10 June 2009

Context. We diagnose the properties of the plume and interplume regions in a polar coronal hole and the role of waves in the acceleration of the solar wind.
Aims. We attempt to detect whether Alfvén waves are present in the polar coronal holes through variations in EUV line widths.
Methods. Using spectral observations performed over a polar coronal hole region with the EIS spectrometer on Hinode, we study the variation in the line width and electron density as a function of height. We use the density sensitive line pairs of Fe XII 186.88 Å and 195.119 Å  and Fe XIII 203.82 Å and 202.04 Å.
Results. For the polar region, the line width data show that the nonthermal line-of-sight velocity increases from $26~{\rm km\,s}^{-1}$ at 10´´ above the limb to $42~{\rm km\,s}^{-1}$ some 150´´  (i.e. ~110 000 km) above the limb. The electron density shows a decrease from 3.3 $\times$ $10^9~{\rm cm}^{-3}$ to 1.9 $\times$ $10^8~{\rm cm}^{-3}$ over the same distance.
Conclusions. These results imply that the nonthermal velocity is inversely proportional to the quadratic root of the electron density, in excellent agreement with what is predicted for undamped radially propagating linear Alfvén waves. Our data provide signatures of Alfvén waves in the polar coronal hole regions, which could be important for the acceleration of the solar wind.

Key words: Sun: corona -- Sun: oscillations -- Sun: UV radiation -- line: profiles -- waves

© ESO 2009

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