Alfvén wave dissipation in the solar chromosphere

Samuel D.T. Grant, David B. Jess, Teimuraz V. Zaqarashvili, Christian Beck, Hector Socas-Navarro, Markus J. Aschwanden, Peter H. Keys, Damian J. Christian, Scott J. Houston, Rebecca L. Hewitt

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

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Abstract

Magnetohydrodynamic Alfvén waves have been a focus of laboratory plasma physics and astrophysics for over half a century. Their unique nature makes them ideal energy transporters, and while the solar atmosphere provides preferential conditions for their existence, direct detection has proved difficult as a result of their evolving and dynamic observational signatures. The viability of Alfvén waves as a heating mechanism relies upon the efficient dissipation and thermalization of the wave energy, with direct evidence remaining elusive until now. Here we provide the first observational evidence of Alfvén waves heating chromospheric plasma in a sunspot umbra through the formation of shock fronts. The magnetic field configuration of the shock environment, alongside the tangential velocity signatures, distinguish them from conventional umbral flashes. Observed local temperature enhancements of 5% are consistent with the dissipation of mode-converted Alfvén waves driven by upwardly propagating magneto-acoustic oscillations, providing an unprecedented insight into the behaviour of Alfvén waves in the solar atmosphere and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-483
Number of pages4
JournalNature Physics
Volume14
Issue number5
Early online date05 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2018

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chromosphere
dissipation
solar atmosphere
signatures
umbras
transporter
magnetic field configurations
plasma heating
plasma physics
shock fronts
magnetohydrodynamic waves
sunspots
viability
flash
astrophysics
shock
oscillations
heating
acoustics
energy

Cite this

Grant, S. D. T., Jess, D. B., Zaqarashvili, T. V., Beck, C., Socas-Navarro, H., Aschwanden, M. J., ... Hewitt, R. L. (2018). Alfvén wave dissipation in the solar chromosphere. Nature Physics, 14(5), 480-483. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-018-0058-3
Grant, Samuel D.T. ; Jess, David B. ; Zaqarashvili, Teimuraz V. ; Beck, Christian ; Socas-Navarro, Hector ; Aschwanden, Markus J. ; Keys, Peter H. ; Christian, Damian J. ; Houston, Scott J. ; Hewitt, Rebecca L. / Alfvén wave dissipation in the solar chromosphere. In: Nature Physics. 2018 ; Vol. 14, No. 5. pp. 480-483.
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abstract = "Magnetohydrodynamic Alfv{\'e}n waves have been a focus of laboratory plasma physics and astrophysics for over half a century. Their unique nature makes them ideal energy transporters, and while the solar atmosphere provides preferential conditions for their existence, direct detection has proved difficult as a result of their evolving and dynamic observational signatures. The viability of Alfv{\'e}n waves as a heating mechanism relies upon the efficient dissipation and thermalization of the wave energy, with direct evidence remaining elusive until now. Here we provide the first observational evidence of Alfv{\'e}n waves heating chromospheric plasma in a sunspot umbra through the formation of shock fronts. The magnetic field configuration of the shock environment, alongside the tangential velocity signatures, distinguish them from conventional umbral flashes. Observed local temperature enhancements of 5{\%} are consistent with the dissipation of mode-converted Alfv{\'e}n waves driven by upwardly propagating magneto-acoustic oscillations, providing an unprecedented insight into the behaviour of Alfv{\'e}n waves in the solar atmosphere and beyond.",
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Grant, SDT, Jess, DB, Zaqarashvili, TV, Beck, C, Socas-Navarro, H, Aschwanden, MJ, Keys, PH, Christian, DJ, Houston, SJ & Hewitt, RL 2018, 'Alfvén wave dissipation in the solar chromosphere', Nature Physics, vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 480-483. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-018-0058-3

Alfvén wave dissipation in the solar chromosphere. / Grant, Samuel D.T.; Jess, David B.; Zaqarashvili, Teimuraz V.; Beck, Christian; Socas-Navarro, Hector; Aschwanden, Markus J.; Keys, Peter H.; Christian, Damian J.; Houston, Scott J.; Hewitt, Rebecca L.

In: Nature Physics, Vol. 14, No. 5, 01.05.2018, p. 480-483.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

TY - JOUR

T1 - Alfvén wave dissipation in the solar chromosphere

AU - Grant, Samuel D.T.

AU - Jess, David B.

AU - Zaqarashvili, Teimuraz V.

AU - Beck, Christian

AU - Socas-Navarro, Hector

AU - Aschwanden, Markus J.

AU - Keys, Peter H.

AU - Christian, Damian J.

AU - Houston, Scott J.

AU - Hewitt, Rebecca L.

PY - 2018/5/1

Y1 - 2018/5/1

N2 - Magnetohydrodynamic Alfvén waves have been a focus of laboratory plasma physics and astrophysics for over half a century. Their unique nature makes them ideal energy transporters, and while the solar atmosphere provides preferential conditions for their existence, direct detection has proved difficult as a result of their evolving and dynamic observational signatures. The viability of Alfvén waves as a heating mechanism relies upon the efficient dissipation and thermalization of the wave energy, with direct evidence remaining elusive until now. Here we provide the first observational evidence of Alfvén waves heating chromospheric plasma in a sunspot umbra through the formation of shock fronts. The magnetic field configuration of the shock environment, alongside the tangential velocity signatures, distinguish them from conventional umbral flashes. Observed local temperature enhancements of 5% are consistent with the dissipation of mode-converted Alfvén waves driven by upwardly propagating magneto-acoustic oscillations, providing an unprecedented insight into the behaviour of Alfvén waves in the solar atmosphere and beyond.

AB - Magnetohydrodynamic Alfvén waves have been a focus of laboratory plasma physics and astrophysics for over half a century. Their unique nature makes them ideal energy transporters, and while the solar atmosphere provides preferential conditions for their existence, direct detection has proved difficult as a result of their evolving and dynamic observational signatures. The viability of Alfvén waves as a heating mechanism relies upon the efficient dissipation and thermalization of the wave energy, with direct evidence remaining elusive until now. Here we provide the first observational evidence of Alfvén waves heating chromospheric plasma in a sunspot umbra through the formation of shock fronts. The magnetic field configuration of the shock environment, alongside the tangential velocity signatures, distinguish them from conventional umbral flashes. Observed local temperature enhancements of 5% are consistent with the dissipation of mode-converted Alfvén waves driven by upwardly propagating magneto-acoustic oscillations, providing an unprecedented insight into the behaviour of Alfvén waves in the solar atmosphere and beyond.

U2 - 10.1038/s41567-018-0058-3

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Grant SDT, Jess DB, Zaqarashvili TV, Beck C, Socas-Navarro H, Aschwanden MJ et al. Alfvén wave dissipation in the solar chromosphere. Nature Physics. 2018 May 1;14(5):480-483. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-018-0058-3