Can ion-neutral damping help to form spicules?
Space and Atmosphere Research Center, Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Sheffield, The Hicks Building, Hounsfield Road, Sheffield S3 7RH, UK
2 Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Lab, 3251 Hanover St., O/L9-41, Bldg. 252, Palo Alto, CA94304, USA e-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Corresponding author: R. Erdélyi, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 7 May 2003
The possible mechanism of generation of spicules by Alfvénic waves is studied in dissipative MHD where dissipation is mainly caused by ion-neutral collision damping, as suggested by Haerendel ([CITE]). Ion-neutral damping becomes non-negligible at the high cyclic frequencies involved, typically greater than , and the potential role played by this effect in both forming and supporting solar spicules is investigated. The propagation of high frequency Alfvén waves on vertically open solar magnetic flux tubes is considered. The flux tubes are taken to be axisymmetric and initially untwisted with the field strength declining from in the photosphere to in the corona. Their propagation is investigated by numerically solving a set of fully nonlinear, dissipative 1.5D MHD equations with the waves being generated by a continuous sinusoidal driver introduced into the equation of angular momentum in the low atmosphere of the Sun. Spicule-like structures with heights of up to were formed. The formation was found to be caused by the impact of a series of slow shocks generated by the continuous interaction between the upward propagating driven wave train and the downward propagating train of waves created by reflection off the transition region and aided by the increased thermal pressure gradient caused by Joule heating due to ion-neutral collisions. The adiabatic results suggest that ion-neutral damping may not support spicules as described by Haerendel ([CITE]). However, the effect is highly sensitive to the level of ionisation and therefore to the energy balance. Including the effects of thermal conduction and radiation may well lead to different results and thus it would be premature to dismiss the mechanism completely at this point. In addition, the relatively high chromospheric temperatures obtained, even at frequencies for which ion-neutral damping and heating might be expected to be unimportant, suggest intriguing possibilities for combining the mechanism with others that are better able to recreate spicule dynamics but suffer from unrealistically low temperatures.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / waves / Sun: transition region / Sun: faculae, plages / Sun: atmosphere / Sun: chromosphere
© ESO, 2003