When and How Does a Prominence-like Jet Gain Kinetic Energy?

Friday, 19 December 2014
Jiajia Liu, Yuming Wang, Rui Liu, Quanhao Zhang, Kai Liu, Chenglong Shen and Shui Wang, USTC University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China
A jet is a considerable amount of plasma being ejected from the chromosphere or lower corona into the higher corona and is a common phenomenon. Usually, a jet is triggered by a brightening or a flare, which provides the first driving force to push plasma upward. In this process, magnetic reconnection is thought to be the mechanism to convert magnetic energy into thermal, nonthermal, and kinetic energies. However, most jets could reach an unusual high altitude and end much later than the end of its associated flare. This fact implies that there is another way to continuously transfer magnetic energy into kinetic energy even after the reconnection. The picture described above is well known in the community, but how and how much magnetic energy is released through a way other than reconnection is still unclear. By studying a prominence-like jet observed by SDO/AIA and STEREO-A/EUVI, we find that the continuous relaxation of the post-reconnection magnetic field structure is an important process for a jet to climb up higher than it could through only reconnection. The kinetic energy of the jet gained through the relaxation is 1.6 times that gained from the reconnection. The resultant energy flux is hundreds of times larger than the flux required for the local coronal heating, suggesting that such jets are a possible source to keep the corona hot. Furthermore, rotational motions appear all the time during the jet. Our analysis suggests that torsional Alfvén waves induced during reconnection could not be the only mechanism to release magnetic energy and drive jets.