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Observation of Plasma Instabilities in Quiescent Prominences

Abstract

We study dynamics of quiescent prominences using several data sets taken with the Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) on Hinode. We find a number of processes occurring at different stages of prominence evolution that are common for all of our chosen cases and, having universal character, can be related to fundamental plasma instabilities. We combine the observational evidence and theory to identify these instabilities. Here we discuss three examples: i) prominence cavity formation and its evolution, associated with a screw-pinch instability; ii) development of a regular series of plumes and spikes typical to the Rayleigh – Taylor (RT) instability; and iii) the appearance of growing ripples at the prominence/corona interface, often followed by a sudden collimated mass upflow, attributed to the Kelvin – Helmholtz (KH) instability. The conditions for transition from a linear (rippling mode) to nonlinear stage of the KH instability, known to have an explosive character, are specified. Given excellent Hinode data, all three aspects of prominence dynamics allow quantitative analysis.

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Correspondence to M. Ryutova.

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Ryutova, M., Berger, T., Frank, Z. et al. Observation of Plasma Instabilities in Quiescent Prominences. Sol Phys 267, 75–94 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11207-010-9638-9

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Keywords

  • The Sun: prominences, instabilities