The formation heights of coronal shocks from 2D density and Alfvén speed maps

Pietro Zucca, Eoin P. Carley, D. Shaun Bloomfield, Peter T. Gallagher

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Super-Alfvenic shock waves associated with coronal mass ejections (CMEs) can produce radio emission known as Type II bursts. In the absence of direct imaging, accurate estimates of coronal electron densities, magnetic field strengths and Alfven speeds are required in order to calculate the kinematics of shocks. To date, 1D radial models have been used, but these are not appropriate for shocks propagating in non-radial directions. Here, we study a coronal shock wave associated with a CME and Type II radio burst using 2D electron density and Alfven speed maps to determine the locations that shocks are excited as the CME expands through the corona. Coronal density maps were obtained from emission measures derived from the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on board the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) and polarized brightness measurements from the Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (LASCO) on board the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Alfven speed maps were calculated using these density maps and magnetic field extrapolations from the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (SDO/HMI). The computed density and Alfven speed maps were then used to calculate the shock kinematics in non-radial directions. Using the kinematics of the Type II burst and associated shock, we find our observations to be consistent with the formation of a shock located at the CME flanks where the Alfven speed has a local minimum. 1D density models are not appropriate for shocks that propagate non-radially along the flanks of a CME. Rather, the 2D density, magnetic field and Alfven speed maps described here give a more accurate method for determining the fundamental properties of shocks and their relation to CMEs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA47
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2014


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