2,150 research outputs found

    Probing quiet Sun magnetism using MURaM simulations and Hinode/SP results: support for a local dynamo

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    We obtain information about the magnetic flux present in the quiet Sun by comparing radiative MHD simulations with Hinode/SP observations, with particular emphasis on the role of surface dynamo action. Simulation runs with different magnetic Reynolds numbers (Rm) are used together with observations at different heliocentric angles with different levels of noise. The results show that simulations with an imposed mixed-polarity field and Rm below the threshold for dynamo action reproduce the observed vertical flux density, but do not display a sufficiently high horizontal flux density. Surface dynamo simulations at the highest Rm feasible at the moment yield a ratio of the horizontal and vertical flux density consistent with observational results, but the overall amplitudes are too low. Based on the properties of the local dynamo simulations, a tentative scaling of the magnetic field strength by a factor 2 - 3 reproduces the signal observed in the internetwork regions. We find an agreement with observations at different heliocentric angles. The mean field strength in internetwork, implied by our analysis, is roughly 170 G at the optical depth unity. Our study shows that surface dynamo could be responsible for most of the magnetic flux in the quiet Sun outside the network given that the extrapolation to higher Rm is valid.Comment: accepted in A&

    Magnetic field intensification: comparison of 3D MHD simulations with Hinode/SP results

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    Recent spectro-polarimetric observations have provided detailed measurements of magnetic field, velocity and intensity during events of magnetic field intensification in the solar photosphere. We consider the temporal evolution of the relevant physical quantities for three cases of magnetic field intensification in a numerical simulation. We determine the evolution of the intensity, magnetic flux density and zero-crossing velocity derived from the synthetic Stokes parameters by taking into account the spectral and spatial resolution of the spectropolarimeter (SP) on board Hinode. The three events considered show a similar evolution: advection of magnetic flux to a granular vertex, development of a strong downflow, evacuation of the magnetic feature, increase of the field strength and the appearance of the bright point. We find that synthetic and real observations are qualitatively consistent and, for one of the cases considered, agree very well also quantitatively. The effect of finite resolution (spatial smearing) is most pronounced in the case of small features, for which the synthetic Hinode/SP observations miss the bright point formation and also the high-velocity downflows during the formation of the smaller magnetic features.Comment: accepted in A&

    Probing photospheric magnetic fields with new spectral line pairs

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    The magnetic line ratio (MLR) method has been extensively used in the measurement of photospheric magnetic field strength. It was devised for the neutral iron line pair at 5247.1 A and 5250.2 A (5250 A pair). Other line pairs as well-suited as this pair been have not been reported in the literature. The aim of the present work is to identify new line pairs useful for the MLR technique and to test their reliability. We use a three dimensional magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulation representing the quiet Sun atmosphere to synthesize the Stokes profiles. Then, we apply the MLR technique to the Stokes V profiles to recover the fields in the MHD cube both, at original resolution and after degrading with a point spread function. In both these cases, we aim to empirically represent the field strengths returned by the MLR method in terms of the field strengths in the MHD cube. We have identified two new line pairs that are very well adapted to be used for MLR measurements. The first pair is in the visible, Fe I 6820 A - 6842 A (whose intensity profiles have earlier been used to measure stellar magnetic fields), and the other is in the infrared (IR), Fe I 15534 A - 15542 A. The lines in these pairs reproduce the magnetic fields in the MHD cube rather well, partially better than the original 5250 A pair. The newly identified line pairs complement the old pairs. The lines in the new IR pair, due to their higher Zeeman sensitivity, are ideal for the measurement of weak fields. The new visible pair works best above 300 G. The new IR pair, due to its large Stokes V signal samples more fields in the MHD cube than the old IR pair at 1.56ÔÇë╬╝1.56\,\mum, even in the presence of noise, and hence likely also on the real Sun. Owing to their low formation heights (100-200 km above tau_5000=1), both the new line pairs are well suited for probing magnetic fields in the lower photosphere.Comment: Accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysic

    Fluxtube model atmospheres and Stokes V zero-crossing wavelengths

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    First results of the inversion of Stokes I and V profiles from plage regions near disk center are presented. Both low and high spatial resolution spectra of FeI 6301.5 and FeI 6302.5 A obtained with the Advanced Stokes Polarimeter (ASP) have been considered for analysis. The thin flux tube approximation, implemented in an LTE inversion code based on response functions, is used to describe unresolved magnetic elements. The code allows the simultaneous and consistent inference of all atmospheric quantities determining the radiative transfer with the sole assumption of hydrostatic equilibrium. By considering velocity gradients within the tubes we are able to match the full ASP Stokes profiles. The magnetic atmospheres derived from the inversion are characterized by the absence of significant motions in high layers and strong velocity gradients in deeper layers. These are essential to reproduce the asymmetries of the observed profiles. Our scenario predicts a shift of the Stokes V zero-crossing wavelengths which is indeed present in observations made with the Fourier Transform Spectrometer.Comment: To appear in ApJ Letters (1997) (in press

    The dark side of solar photospheric G-band bright points

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    Bright small-scale magnetic elements found mainly in intergranular lanes at the solar surface are named bright points (BPs). They show high contrasts in Fraunhofer G-band observations and are described by nearly vertical slender flux tubes or sheets. A recent comparison between BP observations in the ultraviolet (UV) and visible spectral range recorded with the balloon-borne observatory SUNRISE and state-of-the-art magnetohydrodynamical (MHD) simulations revealed a kiloGauss magnetic field for 98% of the synthetic BPs. Here we address the opposite question, namely which fraction of pixels hosting kiloGauss fields coincides with an enhanced G-band brightness. We carried out 3D radiation MHD simulations for three magnetic activity levels (corresponding to the quiet Sun, weak and strong plage) and performed a full spectral line synthesis in the G-band. Only 7% of the kiloGauss pixels in our quiet-Sun simulation coincide with a brightness lower than the mean quiet-Sun intensity, while 23% of the pixels in the weak-plage simulation and even 49% in the strong-plage simulation are associated with a local darkening. Dark strong-field regions are preferentially found in the cores of larger flux patches that are rare in the quiet Sun, but more common in plage regions, often in the vertices of granulation cells. The significant brightness shortfall in the core of larger flux patches coincide with a slight magnetic field weakening. KiloGauss elements in the quiet Sun are on average brighter than similar features in plage regions. Almost all strong-field pixels display a more or less vertical magnetic field orientation. Hence in the quiet Sun, G-band BPs correspond almost one-to-one with kiloGauss elements. In weak plage the correspondence is still very good, but not perfect.Comment: Accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysic

    Solar extreme ultraviolet variability of the quiet Sun

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    The last solar minimum has been unusually quiet compared to the previous minima (since space-based radiometric measurements are available). The Sun's magnetic flux was substantially lower during this minimum. Some studies also show that the total solar irradiance during the minimum after cycle 23 may have dropped below the values known from the two minima prior to that. For chromospheric and coronal radiation, the situation is less clear-cut. The Sun's 10.7\,cm flux shows a decrease of Ôł╝4%\sim4\% during the solar minimum in 2008 compared to the previous minimum, but \ion{Ca}{II} K does not. Here we consider additional wavelengths in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV), specifically transitions of \ion{He}{I} at 584.3\,\AA\ and \ion{O}{V} at 629.7\,\AA , of which the CDS spectrometer aboard SOHO has been taking regular scans along the solar central meridian since 1996. We analysed this unique dataset to verify if and how the radiance distribution undergoes measurable variations between cycle minima. To achieve this aim we determined the radiance distribution of quiet areas around the Sun centre. Concentrating on the last two solar minima, we found out that there is very little variation in the radiance distribution of the chromospheric spectral line \ion{He}{I} between these minima. The same analysis shows a modest, although significant, 4\% variation in the radiance distribution of the transition region spectral line \ion{O}{V}. These results are comparable to those obtained by earlier studies employing other spectral features, and they confirm that chromospheric indices display a small variation, whereas in the TR a more significant reduction of the brighter features is visible

    Discriminant analysis of solar bright points and faculae II. Contrast and morphology analysis

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    Taken at a high spatial resolution of 0.1 arcsec, Bright Points (BPs) are found to coexist with faculae in images and the latter are often resolved as adjacent striations. Understanding the properties of these different features is fundamental to carrying out proxy magnetometry. To shed light on the relationship between BPs and faculae, we studied them separately after the application of a classification method, developed and described in a previous paper) on active region images at various heliocentric angles. In this Paper, we explore different aspects of the photometric properties of BPs and faculae, namely their G-band contrast profiles, their peak contrast in G-band and continuum, as well as morphological parameters. We find that: (1) the width of the contrast profiles of the classified BPs and faculae are consistent with studies of disk center BPs at and limb faculae, which indirectly confirms the validity of our classification, (2) the profiles of limb faculae are limbward skewed on average, while near disk center they exhibit both centerward and limbward skewnesses due to the distribution of orientations of the faculae, (3) the relation between the peak contrasts of BPs and faculae and their apparent area discloses a trend reminiscent of magnetogram studies. The skewness of facular profiles provides a novel constraint for 3D MHD models of faculae. As suggested by the asymmetry and orientation of their contrast profiles, faculae near disk center could be induced by inclined fields, while apparent BPs near the limb seem to be in fact small faculae misidentified. The apparent area of BPs and faculae could be possibly exploited for proxy magnetometry

    Fine structures in the atmosphere above a sunspot umbra

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    We present simultaneous photospheric and chromospheric observations of the trailing sunspot in NOAA 10904, obtained with the Swedish Solar Telescope (SST) La Palma, Canary Islands. Time series of high resolution \ion{Ca}{ii}\,HH images show transient jet-like structures in sunspot umbrae are elongated, which we call umbral microjets. These jets are directed roughly parallel to nearby penumbral microjets, suggesting that they are aligned with the background magnetic field. In general, first a bright dot-like structure appears, from which a jet later emerges, although some jets appear without an associated chromospheric dot. Bright photospheric umbral dots are associated with umbral microjets arising in the outer umbra. Nevertheless, a one-to-one correspondence between jet-like events and underlying umbral dots is not seen. They are typically less than 1\arcsec ~long and less than 0\farcs3 wide. The typical lifetime of umbral microjets is around one minute. The brightness of these structures increases from the center of the umbra towards the umbra-penumbra boundary along with the brightness of the local background.Comment: 5 pages, 6 figures. Accepted for publication in A&A Lette
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