MHD wave propagation in the neighbourhood of a two-dimensional null point

JA McLaughlin, Alan William Hood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


The nature of fast magnetoacoustic and Alfven waves is investigated in a zero beta plasma. This gives an indication of wave propagation in the low beta solar corona. It is found that for a two-dimensional null point, the fast wave is attracted to that point and the front of the wave slows down as it approaches the null point, causing the current density to accumulate there and rise rapidly. Ohmic dissipation will extract the energy in the wave at this point. This illustrates that null points play an important role in the rapid dissipation of fast magnetoacoustic waves and suggests the location where wave heating will occur in the corona. The Alfven wave behaves in a different manner in that the wave energy is dissipated along the separatrices. For Alfven waves that are decoupled from fast waves, the value of the plasma beta is unimportant. However, the phenomenon of dissipating the majority of the wave energy at a specific place is a feature of both wave types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1129-1140
Number of pages12
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • waves
  • Sun : corona


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