MESSENGER Observations of Magnetohydrodynamic Waves in the Solar Corona from Faraday Rotation

E. A. Jensen, M. Nolan, M. M. Bisi, I. Chashei, F. Vilas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

During the declining phase of the longest solar minimum in a century, the arrival of the MESSENGER spacecraft at superior conjunction allowed the measurement of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) waves in the solar corona with its 8 GHz radio frequency signal. MHD waves crossing the line of sight were measured via Faraday rotation fluctuations (FRFs) in the plane of polarization (PP) of MESSENGER's signal. FRFs in previous observations of the solar corona (at greater offset distances) consisted of a turbulent spectrum that decreased in power with increasing frequency and distance from the Sun. Occasionally a spectral line, a distinct peak in the power spectral density spectrum around 4 to 8 mHz, was also observed in these early data sets at offset distances of about 5 to 10 solar radii. The MESSENGER FRF data set shows a spectral line at an offset distance between 1. 55 to 1. 85 solar radii with a frequency of 0. 6±0. 2 mHz. Other possible spectral lines may be at 1. 2, 1. 7, and 4. 5 mHz; MHD waves with these same frequencies have been observed in X-ray data traveling along closed coronal loops at lower offset distances. An initial analysis of the MESSENGER spectral line(s) shows behavior similar to turbulent spectra: decreasing power with increasing frequency and distance from the Sun. Here we detail the steps taken to process the MESSENGER change in PP data set for the MHD wave investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-82
Number of pages12
JournalSolar Physics
Volume285
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alfvén waves
  • Faraday rotation
  • Faraday rotation fluctuations
  • Magnetic field
  • Magnetohydrodynamic waves
  • Polarization
  • Radio frequency
  • Solar corona
  • Solar cycle
  • Spacecraft
  • Spectral lines
  • Turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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