The Astrophysical Journal. Letters vol:706 issue:1 pages:L12-L16
The Farley-Buneman instability ( FBI) is studied in the partially ionized plasma of the solar chromosphere taking into account the finite magnetization of the ions and Coulomb collisions. We obtain the threshold value for the relative velocity between ions and electrons necessary for the instability to develop. It is shown that Coulomb collisions play a destabilizing role in the sense that they enable the instability even in the regions where the ionmagnetization is larger than unity. By applying these results to chromospheric conditions, we show that the FBI cannot be responsible for the quasi-steady heating of the solar chromosphere. However, we do not exclude the instability development locally in the presence of strong cross-field currents and/or strong small-scale magnetic fields. In such cases, FBI should produce locally small-scale, similar to 0.1-3 m, density irregularities in the solar chromosphere. These irregularities can cause scintillations of radio waves with similar wave lengths and provide a tool for remote chromospheric sensing.