Observational tests of damping by resonant absorption in coronal loop oscillations

Markus J Aschwanden, Richard W Nightingale, Jesse Andries, Marcel Goossens, Tom Van Doorsselaere

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One of the proposed damping mechanisms of coronal (transverse) loop oscillations in the kink mode is resonant absorption as a result of the Alfv??n speed variation at the outer boundary of coronal loops. Analytical expressions for the period and damping time exist for loop models with thin nonuniform boundaries. They predict a linear dependency of the ratio of the damping time to the period on the thickness of the nonuniform boundary layer. Ruderman and Roberts used a sinusoidal variation of the density in the nonuniform boundary layer and obtained the corresponding analytical expression for the damping time. Here we measure the thickness of the nonuniform layer in oscillating loops for 11 events, by forward-fitting of the cross-sectional density profile ne(r) and line-of-sight integration to the cross-sectional fluxes F(r) observed with TRACE 171 ??. This way we model the internal (ni) and external electron density (ne) of the coronal plasma in oscillating loops. This allows us to test the theoretically predicted damping rates for thin boundaries as a function of the density ratio I? = ne/ni. Since the observations show that the loops have nonuniform density profiles, we also use numerical results for damping rates to determine the value of I? for the loops. We find that the density ratio predicted by the damping time, I?LEDA = 0.53 A? 0.12, is a factor of approx1.2-3.5 higher than the density ratio estimated from the background fluxes, I? = 0.30 A? 0.16. The lower densities modeled from the background fluxes are likely to be a consequence of the neglected hotter plasma that is not detected with the TRACE 171 ?? filter. Taking these corrections into account, resonant absorption predicts damping times of kink-mode oscillations that are commensurable with the observed ones and provides a new diagnostic of the density contrast of oscillating loops
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1375 - 1386
Number of pages12
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

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