pp a-b March 2015
pp 1-3 March 2015
pp 5-14 March 2015
We first discuss how the flux transport dynamo with reasonably high diffusion can explain both the regular and the irregular features of the solar cycle quite well. Then, we critically examine the inadequacies of the model and the challenge posed by some recent observational data about meridional circulation, arriving at a conclusion that this model can still work within the bounds of observational data.
pp 15-32 March 2015
Both the interior and the atmosphere of the Sun give a wide range of oscillations and waves. Interactions between waves and their highly structured and dynamic environment strongly influence the various properties of the waves. Understanding those possible interactions could provide priceless diagnostic tools in the search for hidden aspects of the solar interior and atmosphere. This article is an attempt to overview briefly our current understanding of how global helioseismic oscillations, 𝑓 and 𝑝 acoustic waves, interact with plasma flows and magnetic fields inthe solar atmosphere.
pp 33-80 March 2015
The success of helioseismology is due to its capability of measuring 𝑝-mode oscillations in the Sun. This allows us to extract information on the internal structure and rotation of the Sun from the surface to the core. Similarly, asteroseismology is the study of the internal structure of the stars as derived from stellar oscillations. In this review we highlight the progress in the observational asteroseismology, including some basic theoretical aspects. In particular, we discuss our contributions to asteroseismology through the study of chemically peculiar stars under the 'Nainital-Cape Survey' project being conducted at ARIES, Nainital, since 1999. This survey aims to detect new rapidly-pulsating Ap (roAp) stars in the northern hemisphere. We also discuss the contribution of ARIES towards the asteroseismic study of the compact pulsating variables. We comment on the future prospects of our project in the light of the new optical 3.6-m telescope to be installed at Devasthal (ARIES). Finally, we present a preliminary optical design of the high-speed imaging photometers for this telescope.
pp 81-101 March 2015
We obtained the Ca–K line profile of the Sun as a star since 1969 at the Kodaikanal Observatory (KO) and analysis of the data showed the need to delineate the role of different chromospheric features to the variations of solar irradiance. We, therefore, initiated a new methodology to make observations of Ca–K line profiles of the Sun as a function of latitude and integrated over the longitude on a daily basis since 1986. We have collected the data for about thousand days, spread over two solar cycles. Earlier data (before 1997) were recorded on the photographic film and later data using the CCD detector. The photographic film data were digitized and analysed along with the data obtained from CCD camera. From these data, we computed K1 and K2 widths for the Sun as a star, using all the observed line profiles as a function of latitude. In addition, we have analyzed the spectra of the whole Sun as a star obtained on some days and compared it with the results obtained from latitude spectra of the same day. The K1 and K2 widths of the Sun as a star derived from the KO data are compared with values determined from the observations made at other observatories to compare results from the new methodology of observations adopted by us and the earlier techniques. The average values of K1 width during the minimum period. of solar cycle 23 are smaller than those during the minimum period of cycle 22. Day-to-day variations in the K1 and K2 widths and plage areas may imply that irradiance variations occur not only due to large-scale solar activity, but also because of variations in some of the three types of network in quiet regions of the Sun. The variation in intensity of the plages can also cause day-to-day variations in widths.
pp 103-109 March 2015
In this paper the longitudinal and latitudinal spatial distribution of macrospicules is examined. We found a statistical relationship between the active longitude (determined by sunspot groups) and the longitudinal distribution of macrospicules. This distribution of macrospicules shows an inhomogeneity and non-axisymmetrical behaviour in the time interval between June 2010 and December 2012, covered by observations of the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) satellite. The enhanced positions of the activity and its time variation have been calculated. The migration of the longitudinal distribution of macrospicules shows a similar behaviour to that of the sunspot groups.
pp 111-121 March 2015
Four different methods are applied here to study the precursors of flare activity in the Active Region NOAA 10486. Two approaches track the temporal behaviour of suitably chosen features (one, the weighted horizontal gradient WGM, is the generalized form of the horizontal gradient of the magnetic field, GM; the other is the sum of the horizontal gradient of the magnetic field, GS, for all sunspot pairs). WGM is a photospheric indicator, that is a proxy measure of magnetic non-potentiality of a specific area of the active region, i.e., it captures the temporal variation of the weighted horizontal gradient of magnetic flux summed up for the region where opposite magnetic polarities are highly mixed. The third one, referred to as the separateness parameter, Sl−f, considers the overall morphology. Further, GS and Sl−f are photospheric, newly defined quick-look indicators of the polarity mix of the entire active region. The fourth method is tracking the temporal variation of small X-ray flares, their times of succession and their energies observed by the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager instrument. All approaches yield specific pre-cursory signatures for the imminence of flares.
pp 123-155 March 2015
Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are the most violent phenomena observed on the Sun. One of the most successful models to explain CMEs is the flux rope ejection model, where a magnetic flux rope is expelled from the solar corona after a long phase along which the flux rope stays in equilibrium while magnetic energy is being accumulated. However, still many questions are outstanding on the detailed mechanism of the ejection and observations continuously provide new data to interpret and put in the context. Currently, extreme ultraviolet (EUV) images from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on board the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) are providing new insights into the early phase of CME evolution. In particular, observations show the ejection of magnetic flux ropes from the solar corona and how they evolve into CMEs. However, these observations are difficult to interpret in terms of basic physical mechanisms and quantities, thus, we need to compare equivalent quantities to test and improve our models.
In our work, we intend to bridge the gap between models and observations with our model of flux rope ejection where we consistently describe the full life span of a flux rope from its formation to ejection. This is done by coupling the global non-linear force-free model (GNLFFF) built to describe the slow low-𝛽 formation phase, with a full MHD simulation run with the software MPI-AMRVAC, suitable to describe the fast MHD evolution of the flux rope ejection that happens in a heterogeneous 𝛽 regime. We also explore the parameter space to identify the conditions upon which the ejection is favoured (gravity stratification and magnetic field intensity) and we produce synthesised AIA observations (171 Å and 211 Å). To carry this out, we run 3D MHD simulation in spherical coordinates where we include the role of thermal conduction and radiative losses, both of which are important for determining the temperature distribution of the solar corona during a CME.
Our model of flux rope ejection is successful in realistically describing the entire life span of a flux rope and we also set some conditions for the backgroud solar corona to favour the escape of the flux rope, so that it turns into a CME. Furthermore, our MHD simulation reproduces many of the features found in the AIA observations.
pp 157-184 March 2015
In the early 1990s, it was found that the strongest disturbances of the space–weather were associated with huge ejections of plasma from the solar corona, which took the form of magnetic clouds when moved from the Sun. It is the collisions of the magnetic clouds with the Earth's magnetosphere that lead to strong, sometimes catastrophic changes in space–weather. The onset of a coronal mass ejection (CME) is sudden and no reliable forerunners of CMEs have been found till date. The CME prediction methodologies are less developed compared to the methods developed for the prediction of solar flares. The most probable initial magnetic configuration of a CME is a flux rope consisting of twisted field lines which fill the whole volume of a dark coronal cavity. The flux ropes can be in stable equilibrium in the coronal magnetic field for weeks and even months, but suddenly they lose their stability and erupt with high speed. Their transition to the unstable phase depends on the parameters of the flux rope (i.e., total electric current, twist, mass loading, etc.), as well as on the properties of the ambient coronal magnetic field. One of the major governing factors is the vertical gradient of the coronal magnetic field, which is estimated as decay index (𝑛). Cold dense prominence material can be collected in the lower parts of the helical flux tubes. Filaments are, therefore, good tracers of the flux ropes in the corona, which become visible long before the beginning of the eruption. The perspectives of the filament eruptions and following CMEs can be estimated by a comparison of observed filament heights with calculated decay index distributions. The present paper reviews the formation of magnetic flux ropes, their stable and unstable phases, eruption conditions, and also discusses their physical implications in the solar corona.
pp 185-195 March 2015
The spectral profiles of the coronal Ne VIII line at 77 nm have different shapes in quiet-Sun regions and Coronal Holes (CHs). A single Gaussian fit of the line profile provides an adequate approximation in quiet-Sun areas, whereas, a strong shoulder on the long-wavelength side is a systematic feature in CHs. Although this has been noticed since 1999, no physical reason for the peculiar shape could be given. In an attempt to identify the cause of this peculiarity, we address three problems that could not be conclusively resolved, in a review article by a study team of the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) (Wilhelm et al. 2011):
The physical processes operating at the base and inside of plumes, as well as their interaction with the Solar Wind (SW).
The possible contribution of plume plasma to the fast SW streams.
The signature of the First-Ionization Potential (FIP) effect between plumes and inter-plume regions (IPRs).
Before the spectroscopic peculiarities in IPRs and plumes in Polar Coronal Holes (PCHs) can be further investigated with the instrument Solar Ultraviolet Measurements of Emitted Radiation (SUMER) aboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), it is mandatory to summarize the results of the review to place the spectroscopic observations into context. Finally, a plume model is proposed that satisfactorily explains the plasma flows up and down the plume field lines and leads to the shape of the neon line in PCHs.
pp 197-223 March 2015
Parallelization techniques have been exploited most successfully by the gaming/graphics industry with the adoption of graphical processing units (GPUs), possessing hundreds of processor cores. The opportunity has been recognized by the computational sciences and engineering communities, who have recently harnessed successfully the numerical performance of GPUs. For example, parallel magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) algorithms are important for numerical modelling of highly inhomogeneous solar, astrophysical and geophysical plasmas. Here, we describe the implementation of SMAUG, the Sheffield Magnetohydrodynamics Algorithm Using GPUs. SMAUG is a 1–3D MHD code capable of modelling magnetized and gravitationally stratified plasma.
The objective of this paper is to present the numerical methods and techniques used for porting the code to this novel and highly parallel compute architecture. The methods employed are justified by the performance benchmarks and validation results demonstrating that the code successfully simulates the physics for a range of test scenarios including a full 3D realistic model of wave propagation in the solar atmosphere.
pp 225-232 March 2015
We study the effect of gravitational stratification on the estimation of magnetic fields in the coronal loops. By using the method of MHD seismology of kink waves for the estimation of magnetic field of coronal loops, we derive a new formula for the magnetic field considering the effect of gravitational stratification. The fast-kink wave is a potential diagnostic tool for the estimation of magnetic field in fluxtubes. We consider the eleven kink oscillation cases observed by TRACE between July 1998 and June 2001. We calculate magnetic field in the stratified loops (𝐵str) and compare them with the previously calculated absolute magnetic field (𝐵abs). The gravitational stratification efficiently affects the magnetic field estimation in the coronal loops as it affects also the properties of kink waves. We find ≈22% increment in the magnetic field for the smallest (𝐿 = 72 Mm) while ≈42% increment in the absolute magnetic field for the longest (𝐿 = 406 Mm) coronal loops. The magnetic fields 𝐵str and 𝐵abs also increase with the number density, if the loop length does not vary much. The increment in the magnetic field due to gravitational stratification is small at the lower number densities, however, it is large at the higher number densities. We find that damping time of kink waves due to phase-mixing is less in the case of gravitationally stratified loops compared to nonstratified ones. This indicates the more rapid damping of kink waves in the stratified loops. In conclusion, we find that the gravitational stratification efficiently affects the estimation of magnetic field and damping time estimation especially in the longer coronal loops.
pp 233-254 March 2015
In the present review article, we discuss the recent developments in studying the Kelvin–Helmholtz (KH) instability of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) waves propagating in various solar magnetic structures. The main description is on the modeling of KH instability developing in the coronal mass ejections (CMEs), and contributes to the triggering of wave turbulence subsequently, leading to the coronal heating. KH instability of MHD waves in coronal active regions recently observed and imaged in unprecedented detail in EUV high cadence, high-resolution observations by SDO/AIA, and spectroscopic observations by Hinode/EIS instrument, is posing new challenge for its realistic modeling. It is shown that, considering the solar mass flows of CMEs as moving cylindrical twisted magnetic flux tubes, the observed instability can be explained in terms of unstable 𝑚 = −3 MHD mode. We also describe the occurrence of the KH instability in solar jets. The obtained critical jet speeds for the instability onset, as well as the linear wave growth rates, are in good agreement with the observational data of solar jets.
Volume 40 | Issue 3
Since January 2016, the Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy has moved to Continuous Article Publishing (CAP) mode. This means that each accepted article is being published immediately online with DOI and article citation ID with starting page number 1. Articles are also visible in Web of Science immediately. All these have helped shorten the publication time and have improved the visibility of the articles.