Alfvén wave heating and acceleration of plasmas in the solar transition region producing jet-like eruptive activity

Whitelam, S. and Ashbourn, J. M. A. and Bingham, R. and Shukla, P. K. and Spicer, D. S. (2002) Alfvén wave heating and acceleration of plasmas in the solar transition region producing jet-like eruptive activity. Solar Physics, 211 (1-2). pp. 199-219. ISSN 0038-0938

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Abstract

We present an analysis of observations and theory of selected transition-region phenomena, concentrating on small scale jet-like structures known as spicules and macrospicules. We examine a number of mechanisms that may be responsible for their formation and conclude that Alfvén waves could provide the necessary acceleration through the ponderomotive force and dissipation for heating forming a beam or jet like structure. In applying the Alfvén wave model we make no fundamental distinction between spicules and macrospicules. In this respect we consider them to be manifestations of the same phenomenon on different scales. We predict that the most effective Alfvén waves have frequencies around 1 Hz and amplitudes of 1 V m−1. The resulting plasma jet sets up plasma conditions suitable for creating rotating structures which are also observed.