Damped kink oscillations of flowing prominence threads
Centre for Mathematical Plasma Astrophysics, Department of
Mathematics, KU Leuven,
2 Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre (SP 2RC), University of Sheffield, Hicks Building, Hounsfield Road, Sheffield S3 7RH, UK
Accepted: 14 September 2012
Transverse oscillations of thin threads in solar prominences are frequently reported in high-resolution observations. Two typical features of the observations are that the oscillations are damped in time and that simultaneous mass flows along the threads are detected. Flows cause the dense threads to move along the prominence magnetic structure while the threads are oscillating. The oscillations have been interpreted in terms of standing magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) kink waves of the magnetic flux tubes, which support the threads. The damping is most likely due to resonant absorption caused by plasma inhomogeneity. The technique of seismology uses the observations combined with MHD wave theory to estimate prominence physical parameters. This paper presents a theoretical study of the joint effect of flow and resonant absorption on the amplitude of standing kink waves in prominence threads. We find that flow and resonant absorption can either be competing effects on the amplitude or both can contribute to damp the oscillations depending on the instantaneous position of the thread within the prominence magnetic structure. The amplitude profile deviates from the classic exponential profile of resonantly damped kink waves in static flux tubes. Flow also introduces a progressive shift of the oscillation period compared to the static case, although this effect is in general of minor importance. We test the robustness of seismological estimates by using synthetic data aiming to mimic real observations. The effect of the thread flow can significantly affect the estimation of the transverse inhomogeneity length scale. The presence of random background noise adds uncertainty to this estimation. Caution needs to be paid to the seismological estimates that do not take the influence of flow into account.
Key words: Sun: filaments, prominences / Sun: oscillations / Sun: corona / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / waves
© ESO, 2012