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Scientists Discover Large-scale Quasi-periodic Wave in Solar Atmosphere

Mar 25, 2019     Email"> PrintText Size

Dr. SHEN Yuandeng from Yunnan Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences reported an unambiguous large-scale quasi-periodic coronal wave consisting of multiple wave fronts, which occurred on April 24, 2012, and was accompanied by the eruptions of a GOES C3.7 flare and a rotating filament.

This finding, published in the Astrophysical Journal, enables people to better understand the intriguing phenomenon of large-scale coronal waves.

A coronal wave appears as a single circular propagating bright front in extreme ultraviolet wavelengths. Most recent high-resolution observations indicated that it is a fast-mode magnetosonic wave driven by coronal mass ejections (CMEs). In theory, any disturbance in the corona can launch waves. Therefore, there must be other driving mechanism of coronal waves besides CMEs.

It is reasonable that a CME drives a coronal wave ahead of it, and due to the continuous driving, the wave can last for tens of minutes or even hours. The finding of quasi-periodic coronal waves leaves people a question: how are large-scale quasi-periodic coronal waves excited?

By comparing the periods of the flare, the filament’s unwinding helical structures, and the waves, researchers found that the periods of the wave and the unwinding filament’s helical structures are almost the same. Therefore, they propose that this large-scale quasi-periodic wave should be excited by the expanding motion of the filament’s helical structures.

In addition to the excitation mechanism, the quasi-periodic wave on April 24 provided a rare opportunity to test different seismology methods that are usually used to estimate coronal parameters.

Since a part of the wave fronts propagated along a group of closed loop system and caused the kink oscillation of the latter, researchers, for the first time, estimated the magnetic field strength of the loop taking advantage of the properties of the oscillation and the quasi-periodic wave.

The two methods yielded similar results, indicating that these seismology methods are reasonable.

(Editor: LIU Jia)


SHEN Yuandeng

Yunnan Observatories

E-mail: ydshen@ynao.ac.cn

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