3D WKB solution for fast magnetoacoustic wave behaviour around an X-line

J. A. McLaughlin, G. J. J. Botha, S. Régnier, D. L. Spoors
2016 Astronomy and Astrophysics  
We study the propagation of a fast magnetoacoustic wave in a 3D magnetic field created from two magnetic dipoles. The magnetic topology contains an X-line. We aim to contribute to the overall understanding of MHD wave propagation within inhomogeneous media, specifically around X-lines. We investigate the linearised, 3D MHD equations under the assumptions of ideal and cold plasma. We utilise the WKB approximation and Charpit's method during our investigation. It is found that the behaviour of
more » ... fast magnetoacoustic wave is entirely dictated by the local, inhomogeneous, equilibrium Alfvén speed profile. All parts of the wave experience refraction during propagation, where the magnitude of the refraction effect depends on the location of an individual wave element within the inhomogeneous magnetic field. The X-line, along which the Alfvén speed is identically zero, acts as a focus for the refraction effect. There are two main types of wave behaviour: part of the wave is either trapped by the X-line or escapes the system, and there exists a critical starting region around the X-line that divides these two types of behaviour. For the set-up investigated, it is found that 15.5% of the fast wave energy is trapped by the X-line. We conclude that linear, β=0 fast magnetoacoustic waves can accumulate along X-lines and thus these will be specific locations of fast wave energy deposition and thus preferential heating. The work here highlights the importance of understanding the magnetic topology of a system. We also demonstrate how the 3D WKB technique described in this paper can be applied to other magnetic configurations.
doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201527789 fatcat:bdr4rtudnjbv7nqxrlvfa4f7hi