A coronal seismological study with streamer waves

Yan Jun Chen, S. W. Feng, B. Li, H. Q. Song, L. D. Xia, X. L. Kong, Xing Li

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28 Citations (SciVal)


We present a novel method to evaluate the Alfvén speed and the magnetic field strength along the streamer plasma sheet in the outer corona. The method is based on recent observations of streamer waves, which are regarded as the fast kink body mode carried by the plasma sheet structure and generated upon the impact of a fast coronal mass ejection (CME) on a nearby streamer. The mode propagates outward with a phase speed consisting of two components. One is the phase speed of the mode in the plasma rest frame and the other is the speed of the solar wind streaming along the plasma sheet. The former can be well represented by the Alfvén speed outside the plasma sheet, according to a linear wave dispersion analysis with a simplified slab model of magnetized plasmas. The radial profiles of the Alfvén speed can be deduced with constraints put on the speed of the solar wind, which is done by making use of the measurements of streamer blobs flowing passively in the wind. The radial profiles of the strength of the coronal magnetic field can be depicted once the electron density distribution is specified, this is done by inverting the observed polarized brightness data. Comparing the diagnostic results corresponding to the first wave trough and the following crest, we find that both the Alfvén speed and magnetic field strength at a fixed distance decline with time. This is suggestive of the recovering process of the CME-disturbed corona.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2011


  • Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: coronal mass ejections (CMES)
  • Waves


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