A novel technique to measure intensity fluctuations in EUV images and to detect coronal sound waves nearby active regions⋆
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
3 Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375, USA
4 Praxis, Inc., Alexandria, VA 22303, USA
Accepted: 31 October 2010
Context. In the past years, evidence for the existence of outward-moving (Doppler blue-shifted) plasma and slow-mode magneto-acoustic propagating waves in various magnetic field structures (loops in particular) in the solar corona has been found in ultraviolet images and spectra. Yet their origin and possible connection to and importance for the mass and energy supply to the corona and solar wind is still unclear. There has been increasing interest in this problem thanks to the high-resolution observations available from the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) imagers on the Solar TErrestrial RElationships Observatory (STEREO) and the EUV spectrometer on the Hinode mission.
Aims. Flows and waves exist in the corona, and their signatures appear in EUV imaging observations but are extremely difficult to analyse quantitatively because of their weak intensity. Hence, such information is currently available mostly from spectroscopic observations that are restricted in their spatial and temporal coverage. To understand the nature and origin of these fluctuations, imaging observations are essential. Here, we present measurements of the speed of intensity fluctuations observed along apparently open field lines with the Extreme UltraViolet Imagers (EUVI) onboard the STEREO mission. One aim of our paper is to demonstrate that we can make reliable kinematic measurements from these EUV images, thereby complementing and extending the spectroscopic measurements and opening up the full corona for such an analysis. Another aim is to examine the assumptions that lead to flow versus wave interpretation for these fluctuations.
Methods. We have developed a novel image-processing method by fusing well established techniques for the kinematic analysis of coronal mass ejections (CME) with standard wavelet analysis. The power of our method lies with its ability to recover weak intensity fluctuations along individual magnetic structures at any orientation, anywhere within the full solar disk, and using standard synoptic observing sequences (cadence <3 min) without the need for special observation plans.
Results. Using information from both EUVI imagers, we obtained wave phase speeds with values on the order of 60−90 km s-1, compatible with those obtained by other previous measurements. Moreover, we studied the periodicity of the observed fluctuations and established a predominance of a 16-min period, and other periods that seem to be multiples of an underlying 8-min period.
Conclusions. The validation of our analysis technique opens up new possibilities for the study of coronal flows and waves, by extending it to the full disk and to a larger number of coronal structures than has been possible previously. It opens up a new scientific capability for the EUV observations from the recently launched Solar Dynamics Observatory. Here we clearly establish the ubiquitous existence of sound waves which continuously propagate along apparently open magnetic field lines.
Key words: methods: observational / Sun: corona / waves
Movies 1 and 2 (Figs. 12 and 13) are only available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2010