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I would like to report first on the scientific career of Einar Tandberg-Hanssen: how he became a Solar Physicist particularly interested in prominences. In the second part of my talk I will show what he brought to the French community from the science perspective.
We review recent observational and theoretical results on the fine structure and dynamics of solar prominences, beginning with an overview of prominence classifications, the proposal of possible new “funnel prominence” classification, and a discussion of the recent “solar tornado” findings. We then focus on quiescent prominences to review formation, down-flow dynamics, and the “prominence bubble” phenomena. We show new observations of the prominence bubble Rayleigh-Taylor instability triggered by a Kelvin-Helmholtz shear flow instability occurring along the bubble boundary. Finally we review recent studies on plasma composition of bubbles, emphasizing that differential emission measure (DEM) analysis offers a more quantitative analysis than photometric comparisons. In conclusion, we discuss the relation of prominences to coronal magnetic flux ropes, proposing that prominences can be understood as partially ionized condensations of plasma forming the return flow of a general magneto-thermal convection in the corona.
Quiescent solar prominences are cool and dense plasma clouds located inside the hot and less dense solar corona. They are highly dynamic structures displaying flows, instabilities, oscillatory motions, etc. The oscillations have been mostly interpreted in terms of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) waves, which has allowed to perform prominence seismology as a tool to determine prominence physical parameters difficult to measure. Here, several prominence seismology applications to large and small amplitude oscillations are reviewed.
Several scenarios explaining how filaments are formed can be found in literature. In this paper, we analyzed the observations of an active region filament and critically evaluated the observed properties in the context of current filament formation models. This study is based on multi-height spectropolarimetric observations. The inferred vector magnetic field has been extrapolated starting either from the photosphere or from the chromosphere. The line-of-sight motions of the filament, which was located near disk center, have been analyzed inferring the Doppler velocities. We conclude that a part of the magnetic structure emerged from below the photosphere.
Employing six-day (August 16-21, 2010) SDO/AIA observations, we systematically investigate the formation and disappearance of 58 barbs of a northern (~N60) polar crown filament. Three different ways of barb formation are discovered, including (1) the convergence of surrounding moving materials (55.2%), (2) the flows of materials from the filament (37.9%), and (3) the material injections from neighboring brightening regions (6.9%). We also find three different types of barb disappearance, involving: (i) the bi-lateral movements (44.8%), and (ii) the outflowing (27.6%) of barb material resulting in the barb disappearance, as well as (iii) the barb disappearance associated with neighboring brightenings (27.6%). We propose that barbs exchange materials with the filament, surrounding atmosphere, and nearby brightening regions, causing the barb formation and disappearance.
Transverse oscillations of thin threads in solar prominences are frequently reported in high-resolution observations. The typical periods of the oscillations are in the range of 3 to 20 min. A peculiar feature of the oscillations is that they are damped in time, with short damping times corresponding to few periods. Theoretically, the oscillations are interpreted as kink magnetohydrodynamic waves. However, the mechanism responsible for the damping is not well known. Here we perform a comparative study between different physical mechanisms that may damp kink waves in prominence threads. The considered processes are thermal conduction, cooling by radiation, resonant absorption, and ion-neutral collisions. We find that thermal conduction and radiative cooling are very inefficient for the damping of kink waves. The effect of ion-neutral collisions is minor for waves with periods usually observed. Resonant absorption is the only process that produces an efficient damping. The damping times theoretically predicted by resonant absorption are compatible with those reported in the observations.
Prominence oscillations have been mostly detected using Doppler velocity, although there are also claimed detections by means of the periodic variations of half-width or line intensity. Our main aim here is to explore the relationship between spectral indicators such as Doppler shift, line intensity and line half-width and the linear perturbations excited in a simple prominence model.
We review here the current status and the latest results of the modelling of quiescent prominence fine structures. We begin with the simulations of the prominence magnetic field configurations, through an overview of the modelling of the fine structure formation and dynamics, and with the emphasis on the radiative transfer modelling of the realistic prominence fine structures. We also illuminate the future directions of the field that lie in the combining of the existing approaches into more complex multi-disciplinary models.
Due to the complexity of their environment, prominences properties are still a matter of controversy. Prominences cool and dense plasma is suspended in the hot corona by a magnetic structure poorly known. Their thermal insulation from the corona results in a thin geometrical interface called prominence-corona-transition-region (PCTR). Here we will review the main properties of such a region as derived primarily from observations. We will introduce the thermal structure properties, describe the fine structure together with the Doppler-shift and width properties of lines of the emitting plasma. We will introduce the proposed interpretations of such observations and the limits of our knowledge imposed by the present instrumentation. We will conclude with a perspective for the future observations of the PCTR.
Prominence eruptions are one of the most spectacular manifestations of our Sun's activity. Yet there is still some mystery surrounding their relevant physical conditions. What are their plasma parameters? How different are they from those of quiescent prominences? How do they relate to those within coronal mass ejections? We briefly review some recent results in non-LTE radiative transfer modelling which contribute to our knowledge of the plasma properties in eruptive prominences. We discuss in particular how these results, combined with observational data analysis, can help us in determining the plasma parameters in eruptive prominences.
Using the Fast Imaging Solar Spectrograph of the 1.6 meter New Solar Telescope at Big Bear, we simultaneously took the spectral profiles of the Hα line and the Ca ii line at 854.2 nm from prominences beyond the solar limb and filaments on the disk. The spectral data were fitted by the slab model of radiative transfer with constant source function, either with zero background intensity profile (in prominences) or with carefully constructed background intensity profile (in filaments). These observations with different perspectives and different analyses produced consistent results: temperature inside prominences/filaments ranges from 4000 to 20000 K with a mean of about 9500 K. We expect that this kind of observation and analysis with higher spatial resolution and higher temporal resolution will allow us to study in detail the thermal structure and evolution of plasma in prominences.
We study Rayleigh–Taylor instability (RTI) at the coronal–prominence boundary by means of 2.5D numerical simulations in a single-fluid MHD approach including a generalized Ohm's law. The initial configuration includes a homogeneous magnetic field forming an angle with the direction in which the plasma is perturbed. For each field inclination we compare two simulations, one for the pure MHD case, and one including the ambipolar diffusion in the Ohm's law, otherwise identical. We find that the configuration containing neutral atoms is always unstable. The growth rate of the small-scale modes in the non-linear regime is larger than in the purely MHD case.
Observations of quiescent prominences show rising plumes, dark in chromospheric lines, that propagate from large bubbles. In this paper we present a method that may be used to determine the plasma β (ratio of gas pressure to magnetic pressure) from the rising plumes. Using the classic fluid dynamic solution for flow around a circular cylinder, the compression of the prominence material can be estimated. Application to a prominence gave an estimate of the plasma β as β=0.47−1.13 for a ratio of specific heats of γ=1.4−1.7.
Prominences owe their existence to the presence of magnetic fields in the solar corona. The magnetic field determines their geometry and is crucial to their stability, energetics, and dynamics. This review summarizes techniques for measurement of the magnetic field vector in prominences. New techniques for inversions of full Stokes spectro-polarimetry, incorporating both the Zeeman and Hanle mechanisms for generation and modification of polarization, are now at the forefront. Also reviewed are measurements of the magnetic fields in the photosphere below prominences, and how they may be used to infer the field geometry in and surrounding the prominence itself.
We show preliminary results of an ongoing investigation aimed at determining the configuration of the magnetic field vector in the threads of a quiescent hedgerow solar prominence using high-spatial resolution spectropolarimetric observations taken in the He I 1083.0 nm multiplet. The data consist of a two-dimensional map of a quiescent hedgerow prominence showing vertical threads. The observations were obtained with the Tenerife Infrared Polarimeter attached to the German Vacuum Tower Telescope at the Observatorio del Teide (Spain). The He I 1083.0 nm Stokes signals are interpreted with an inversion code, which takes into account the key physical processes that generate and/or modify circular and linear polarization signals in the He I 1083.0 nm triplet: the Zeeman effect, anisotropic radiation pumping, and the Hanle effect. We present initial results of the inversions, i.e, the strength and orientation of the magnetic field vector along the prominence and in prominence threads.
The New Vacuum Solar Telescope (NVST) is a new generation ground-based solar facility of China. One of the post-focus instruments is the multi-channel high-resolution imaging system, which is designed to simultaneously observe the dynamic gas motion in the solar photosphere and chromosphere. Since October of 2010 it has been operational in the NVST and some necessary updates were performed in past 2 years. Here we first give a general introduction of this system, and then we exhibit one near-limb observation of solar filaments obtained using this system. By this communication, we would like to show the potential ability to perform the high resolution observation of solar filaments (prominences) using the multi-channel imaging system in the NVST.
The magnetic configuration hosting prominences can be a large-scale helical magnetic flux rope. As a necessary step towards future prominence formation studies, we report on a stepwise approach to study flux rope formation. We start with summarizing our recent three-dimensional (3D) isothermal magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation where a flux rope is formed, including gas pressure and gravity. This starts from a static corona with a linear force-free bipolar magnetic field, altered by lower boundary vortex flows around the main polarities and converging flows towards the polarity inversion. The latter flows induce magnetic reconnection and this forms successive new helical loops so that a complete flux rope grows and ascends. After stopping the driving flows, the system relaxes to a stable helical magnetic flux rope configuration embedded in an overlying arcade. Starting from this relaxed isothermal endstate, we next perform a thermodynamic MHD simulation with a chromospheric layer inserted at the bottom. As a result of a properly parametrized coronal heating, and due to radiative cooling and anisotropic thermal conduction, the system further relaxes to an equilibrium where the flux rope and the arcade develop a fully realistic thermal structure. This paves the way to future simulations for 3D prominence formation.
Recent observations and models of solar prominences are reviewed. The observations suggest that prominences are located in or below magnetic flux ropes that lie horizontally above the PIL. However, the details of the magnetic structure are not yet fully understood. Gravity likely plays an important role in shaping the vertical structures observed in quiescent prominences. Preliminary results from a time-dependent model describing the interaction of a magnetic flux rope with photospheric magnetic elements are presented.
The motivation for our research was to study the correlation between the chirality of filaments and the handedness (S- or Z-shape) of sigmoids. It was assumed that sigmoids would mostly coincide with filaments and that the S-shaped sigmoids would correlate well with filaments of sinistral chirality, which we found that to be at best a very weak relation. Since we had a full solar cycle of filament metadata at hand it was easy to verify the supposedly known hemispheric preference of filament chirality. We discovered that the hemispheric chirality rule was confirmed for the epoch where a thorough manual study had been performed, but that at other phases of the solar cycle the rule seems to disappear and sometimes even reverse.