Volume 515, June 2010
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Published online||11 June 2010|
The spatial damping of magnetohydrodynamic waves in a flowing partially ionised prominence plasma
Departament de Matemàtiques i Informàtica, Universitat de les Illes Balears, 07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Departament de Física, Universitat de les Illes Balears, 07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain e-mail: email@example.com, [ramon.oliver;joseluis.ballester]@uib.es
Accepted: 1 February 2010
Context. Solar prominences are partially ionised plasmas displaying flows and oscillations. These oscillations exhibit time and spatial damping and have commonly been explained in terms of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) waves.
Aims. We study the spatial damping of linear non-adiabatic MHD waves in a flowing partially ionised plasma with prominence-like physical properties.
Methods. We consider single fluid equations for a partially ionised hydrogen plasma by including in the energy equation optically thin radiation, thermal conduction by electrons and neutrals, and heating. By keeping ω real and fixed, we solved the dispersion relations obtained for the complex wavenumber, k, and analysed the behaviour of the damping length, wavelength and the ratio of the damping length to the wavelength, versus period, for Alfvén, fast, slow, and thermal waves.
Results. In the presence of a background flow, the results indicate that new strongly damped fast and Alfvén waves appear that depend on the joint action of flow and resistivity. The damping lengths of adiabatic fast and slow waves are strongly affected by partial ionisation, which also modifies the ratio between damping lengths and wavelengths. The behaviour of adiabatic fast waves also resembles that of Alfvén waves. For non-adiabatic slow waves, the unfolding in both wavelength and damping length induced by the flow allows efficient damping to be found for periods compatible with those observed in prominence oscillations. This effect is enhanced when low ionised plasmas are considered.
Conclusions. Since flows are ubiquitous in prominences, in the case of non-adiabatic slow waves and within the range of periods of interest for prominence oscillations, the joint effect of both flow and partial ionisation leads to a ratio of damping length to wavelength denoting a very efficient spatial damping. For fast and Alfvén waves, the most efficient damping occurs at very short periods not compatible with those observed in prominence oscillations.
Key words: Sun: oscillations / magnetic fields / Sun: filaments, prominences
© ESO, 2010
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