Time damping of non-adiabatic magnetohydrodynamic waves in a partially ionized prominence plasma: effect of helium
Departament de Física, Universitat de les Illes Balears,
07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain e-mail: [roberto.soler;ramon.oliver;joseluis.ballester]@uib.es
Accepted: 14 December 2009
Context. Prominences are partially ionized, magnetized plasmas embedded in the solar corona. Damped oscillations and propagating waves are commonly observed. These oscillations have been interpreted in terms of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) waves. Ion-neutral collisions and non-adiabatic effects (radiation losses and thermal conduction) have been proposed as damping mechanisms.
Aims. We study the effect of the presence of helium on the time damping of non-adiabatic MHD waves in a plasma composed by electrons, protons, neutral hydrogen, neutral helium (He i), and singly ionized helium (He ii) in the single-fluid approximation.
Methods. The dispersion relation of linear non-adiabatic MHD waves in a homogeneous, unbounded, and partially ionized prominence medium is derived. We compute the period and the damping time of Alfvén, slow, fast, and thermal waves. A parametric study of the ratio of the damping time to the period with respect to the helium abundance is performed.
Results. The efficiency of ion-neutral collisions, as well as thermal conduction, is increased by the presence of helium. However, if realistic abundances of helium in prominences (~10%) are considered, this has a minor influence on the wave damping.
Conclusions. The presence of helium can be safely neglected in studies of MHD waves in partially ionized prominence plasmas.
Key words: Sun: oscillations / magnetic fields / Sun: corona / Sun filaments, prominences
© ESO, 2010