Volume 610, February 2018
|Number of page(s)||11|
|Published online||28 February 2018|
Dissipative instabilities in a partially ionised prominence plasma slab
II. The effect of compressibility
Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre (SP 2RC), School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Sheffield,
S3 7RH, UK
2 Department of Astronomy, Eötvös Loránd University, Plázmány P. sétány 1/A, 1117 Budapest, Hungary
Accepted: 11 November 2017
This study deals with the dissipative instability that appears in a compressible partially ionised plasma slab embedded in a uniform magnetic field, modelling the state of the plasma in solar prominences. In the partially ionised plasma, the dominant dissipative effect is the Cowling resistivity. The regions outside the slab (modelling the solar corona) are fully ionised, and the dominant mechanism of dissipation is viscosity. Analytical solutions to the extended magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) equations are found inside and outside of the slab and solutions are matched at the boundaries of the slab. The dispersion relation is derived and solutions are found analytically in the slender slab limit, while the conditions necessary for the appearance of the instability is investigated numerically for the entire parameter space. Our study is focussed on the effect of the compressibility on the generation and evolution of instabilities. We find that compressibility reduces the threshold of the equilibrium flow, where waves can be unstable, to a level that is comparable to the internal cusp speed, which is of the same order of flow speeds that are currently observed in solar prominences. Our study addresses only the slow waves, as these are the most likely perturbations to become unstable, however the time-scales of the instability are found to be rather large ranging from 105–107 s. It is determined that the instability threshold is further influenced by the concentration of neutrals and the strength of the viscosity of the corona. Interestingly, these two latter aspects have opposite effects. Our numerical analysis shows that the interplay between the equilibrium flow, neutrals and dispersion can change considerably the nature of waves. Despite employing a simple model, our study confirms the necessity of consideration of neutrals when discussing the stability of prominences under solar conditions.
Key words: Sun: filaments, prominences / Sun: corona / Sun: oscillations / waves / plasmas instabilities
© ESO 2018
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