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Sunrise Mission Highlights

By Tino L. Riethmüller and Sami K. Solanki


Solar activity is controlled by the magnetic field, which also causes the variability of the solar irradiance that in turn is thought to influence the climate on Earth. The magnetic field manifests itself in the form of structures of different sizes, starting with sunspots (10-50 Mm) down to the smallest known magnetic features that often have spatial extents of 100 km or less. The study of the fine scale structure of the Sun's magnetic field has been hampered by the limited spatial resolution of the available observations. This has recently changed thanks to new space and ground-based telescopes. A significant step forward has been taken by the Sunrise observatory, built around the largest solar telescope to leave the ground, and containing two science instruments. Sunrise had two successful long-duration science flights on a stratospheric balloon in June 2009 (solar activity minimum) and in June 2013 (at a high activity level) and a number of scientific results have been obtained that have greatly advanced our understanding of solar magnetism, with data analysis still ongoing. After a brief introduction to the Sunrise mission, an overview of a selection of these results will be given.Comment: Accepted for publication in Proceedings of Scienc

Topics: Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
Year: 2015
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