EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 478, Number 3, February II 2008
Page(s) 921 - 927
Section The Sun
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20078481

A&A 478, 921-927 (2008)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20078481

Torsional Alfvén waves in small scale density threads of the solar corona

P. Copil, Y. Voitenko, and M. Goossens

Centre for Plasma Astrophysics, K. U. Leuven, Celestijnenelaan 200 B, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium
    e-mail: copil@wis.kuleuven.be

(Received 14 August 2007 / Accepted 3 December 2007)

The density structuring of the solar corona is observed at large scales (loops and funnels), but also at small scales (sub-structures of loops and funnels). Coronal loops consist of thin density threads with sizes down to (and most probably below) the resolution limit. We study properties of torsional Alfvén waves propagating in inhomogeneous cylindrical density threads using the two-fluid magnetohydrodynamic equations. The eigenmode solutions supported by such a structure are obtained and analysed. It is shown that the dispersive and dissipative effects become important for the waves localised in thin threads. In this case, the Alfvén wave continuum is replaced with a discrete spectrum of Alfvén waves. This mathematical model is applied to the waves propagating in coronal structures. In particular, we consider ~1 Hz Alfvén waves propagating along density threads with a relatively smooth radial profile, where a density contrast of about 1.1 is attained at radial distances of about 0.1 km. We found that the dissipation distance of these waves is less than the typical length of hot coronal loops, 50 Mm. Torsional Alfvén waves are localised in thin density threads and produce localised heating. Therefore, these waves can be responsible for coronal heating and for maintenance of small-scale coronal structuring.

Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) -- waves -- methods: analytical -- plasmas -- Sun: corona

© ESO 2008