We have measured the widths of spectral lines from a polar coronal hole using the Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer on board Hinode. Polar coronal holes are regions of open magnetic field and the source of the fast solar wind. We find that the line widths decrease at relatively low heights. Previous observations have attributed such decreases to systematic effects, but we find that such effects are too small to explain our results. We conclude that the line narrowing is real. The non-thermal line widths are believed to be proportional to the amplitude of Alfvén waves propagating along these open field lines. Our results suggest that Alfvén waves are damped at unexpectedly low heights in a polar coronal hole. We derive an estimate on the upper limit for the energy dissipated between 1.1 R ☉ and 1.3 R ☉ and find that it is enough to account for up to 70% of that required to heat the polar coronal hole and accelerate the solar wind.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- July 2012
- line: profiles;
- Sun: corona;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- Accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal, April 2012