Kinematics of coronal rain in a transversely oscillating loop: Ponderomotive force and rain-excited oscillations
1 Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
2 School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St. Andrews, St Andrews KY16 9SS, UK
Received: 1 September 2016
Accepted: 2 November 2016
Context. Coronal rain is composed of cool dense blobs that form in solar coronal loops and are a manifestation of catastrophic cooling linked to thermal instability. Once formed, rain falls towards the solar surface at sub-ballistic speeds, which is not well understood. Pressure forces seem to be the prime candidate to explain this. In many observations rain is accompanied by transverse oscillations and the interaction between rain and these oscillations needs to be explored.
Aims. Therefore, an alternative kinematic model for coronal rain kinematics in transversely oscillating loops is developed to understand the physical nature of the observed sub-ballistic falling motion of rain. This model explicitly explores the role of the ponderomotive force arising from the transverse oscillation on the rain motion and the capacity of rain to excite wave motion.
Methods. An analytical model is presented that describes a rain blob guided by the coronal magnetic field supporting a one-dimensional shear Alfvén wave as a point mass on an oscillating string. The model includes gravity and the ponderomotive force from the oscillation acting on the mass and the inertia of the mass acting on the oscillation.
Results. The kinematics of rain in the limit of negligible rain mass are explored and falling and trapped regimes are found, depending on wave amplitude. In the trapped regime for the fundamental mode, the rain blob bounces back and forth around the loop top at a long period that is inversely proportional to the oscillation amplitude. The model is compared with several observational rain studies, including one in-depth comparison with an observation that shows rain with up-and-down bobbing motion. The role of rain inertia in exciting transverse oscillations is explored in inclined loops.
Conclusions. It is found that the model requires displacement amplitudes of the transverse oscillation that are typically an order of magnitude larger than observed to explain the measured sub-ballistic motion of the rain. Therefore, it is concluded that the ponderomotive force is not the primary reason for understanding sub-ballistic motion, but it plays a role in cases of large loop oscillations. The appearance of rain causes the excitation of small-amplitude transverse oscillations that may explain observed events and provide a seismological tool to measure rain mass.
Key words: Sun: corona / Sun: oscillations / Sun: activity / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / methods: analytical / waves
© ESO, 2017
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