Theoretical modelling of global oscillations in solar prominences
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This thesis aims to provide a basic theoretical explanation for the oscillatory motions observed in solar quiescent prominences. The prominence is treated as a simple plasma slab embedded in a hotter and rarer uniform coronal plasma. Both the slab and its environment are permeated by a uniform magnetic field. The field lines are anchored at rigid walls placed on either side of the plasma slab and representing the photospheric line-tying effect. The magnetohydrodynamic modes of oscillation of the plasma slab are then examined for different orientations of the magnetic field with respect to the long axis of the slab. Particularly interesting in this study is the appearance of the 'string MHD' modes that are analogous to the fundamental vibrations of a mass- loaded stretched elastic string. Such modes appear whenever the magnetic field vector is inclined to the long axis of the slab, thus producing a magnetic field component in the direction transverse to the axis of the slab. Observationally, this inclination of the field is generally small. For realistic values of the angle of inclination of the magnetic field lines, the 'string Alfven' mode and an 'internal slow' mode yield periods in the range 1/2-2 hr. These modes may correspond to the observed long period (40-90 minutes) oscillations in quiescent prominences. Intermediate periodicities, in the range 8-20 min, may be associated with an 'internal Alfven' mode and a 'fast string' mode of the prominence slab. The observed short periodicities, in the range 2-5 min, may correspond to an 'internal fast' mode in prominences. Having thus established a foundation for the theoretical modelling of prominence oscillations in terms of the magnetohydrodynamic modes of oscillation of a non-gravitating plasma slab, we discuss several factors, such as the effects of gravitational stratification, the curvature of the magnetic field lines, and the fine-structures in a prominence, that may complicate a description of its oscillatory modes. Some preliminary investigations of simple magnetohydrostatic equilibrium models suggest that gravity and the curvature of the magnetic field lines play only a secondary role in determining the periods of the oscillatory modes in prominences, the basic structure of the modes being similar to that present in simple slab models.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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