Torsional Alfvén waves can spontaneously generate over-dense threads in the solar corona

Sergio Díaz-Suárez and Roberto Soler have published a new lettter in The Astrophysical Journal Letters: Overdense Threads in the Solar Corona Induced by Torsional Alfvén Waves

Title: Overdense Threads in the Solar Corona Induced by Torsional Alfvén Waves
Authors: Sergio Díaz-Suárez and Roberto Soler.
High-resolution and high-cadence observations have shown that Alfvén waves are ubiquitous in the solar atmosphere. Theoretical works suggest their ability to transfer large energy fluxes from the photosphere to the corona and solar wind. In this proof-of-concept Letter we show that torsional Alfvén waves can induce the formation of filamentary plasma structures in the solar corona. We perform high-resolution 3D ideal MHD simulations in an initially uniform coronal plasma permeated by a line-tied twisted magnetic field. We find that torsional Alfvén waves develop Kelvin–Helmholtz instabilities as a result of the phase mixing process. The Kelvin–Helmholtz instability drives plasma compression that breaks the uniformity of density, creating elongated overdense threads aligned with the direction of the magnetic field. With synthetic modeling of SDO/AIA imaging we show that the overdense filaments could be seen in observations as fine strands that illuminate the underlying magnetic structure.

Cite as: The Astrophysical Journal LettersVolume 922Number 2