Volume 632, December 2019
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Published online||09 December 2019|
Co-spatial velocity and magnetic swirls in the simulated solar photosphere
Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre (SP2RC), School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S3 7RH, UK
2 Rosseland Centre for Solar Physics, University of Oslo, PO Box 1029, Blindern 0315, Oslo, Norway
3 Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, University of Oslo, PO Box 1029, Blindern 0315, Oslo, Norway
4 Astrophysics Research Centre (ARC), School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen’s University, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK
5 Department of Astronomy, Eötvös Loránd University, Pázmány P. sétány 1/A, 1117 Budapest, Hungary
6 CAS Key Laboratory of Geospace Environment, Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui 230026, PR China
Accepted: 20 October 2019
Context. Velocity or intensity swirls have now been shown to be widely present throughout the photosphere and chromosphere. It has been suggested that these events could contribute to the heating of the upper solar atmosphere, via exciting Alfvén pulses, which could carry significant amounts of energy. However, the conjectured necessary physical conditions for their excitation, that the magnetic field rotates co-spatially and co-temporally with the velocity field, has not been verified.
Aims. We aim to understand whether photospheric velocity swirls exist co-spatially and co-temporally with photospheric magnetic swirls, in order to demonstrate the link between swirls and pulses.
Methods. The automated swirl detection algorithm (ASDA) is applied to the photospheric horizontal velocity and vertical magnetic fields obtained from a series of realistic numerical simulations using the radiative magnetohydrodynamics (RMHD) code Bifrost. The spatial relationship between the detected velocity and magnetic swirls is further investigated via a well-defined correlation index (CI) study.
Results. On average, there are ∼63 short-lived photospheric velocity swirls (with lifetimes mostly less than 20 s, and average radius of ∼37 km and rotating speeds of ∼2.5 km s−1) detected in a field of view (FOV) of 6 × 6 Mm−2, implying a total population of velocity swirls of ∼1.06 × 107 in the solar photosphere. More than 80% of the detected velocity swirls are found to be accompanied by local magnetic concentrations in intergranular lanes. On average, ∼71% of the detected velocity swirls have been found to co-exist with photospheric magnetic swirls with the same rotating direction.
Conclusions. The co-temporal and co-spatial rotation in the photospheric velocity and magnetic fields provide evidence that the conjectured condition for the excitation of Alfvén pulses by photospheric swirls is fulfilled.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / Sun: atmosphere / Sun: magnetic fields
© ESO 2019
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