Posts Tagged solar disk

Recent Postings from solar disk

One Possible Reason for Double-Peaked Maxima in Solar Cycles: Is a Second Maximum of Solar Cycle 24 Coming?

We investigate solar activity by focusing on double maxima in solar cycles and try to estimate the shape of the current solar cycle (Cycle 24) during its maximum. We analyzed data for Solar Cycle 24 by using Learmonth Solar Observatory sunspot group data since 2008. All sunspot groups (SGs) recorded during this time interval were separated into two groups: The first group includes small SGs [A, B, C, H, classes by the Zurich classification], and the second group consists of large SGs [D, E, and F]. We then calculated small and large sunspot group numbers, their sunspot numbers [SSN] and Zurich numbers [Rz] from their daily mean numbers as observed on the solar disk during a given month. We found that the temporal variations for these three different separations behave similarly. We also analyzed the general shape of solar cycles from Cycle 1 to 23 by using monthly International Sunspot Number [ISSN] data and found that the durations of maxima were about 2.9 years. Finally, we used ascending time and SSN relationship and found that the maximum of the Cycle 24 should be later than 2011. Thus, we conclude that i) one possible reason for a double maximum in solar cycles is the different behavior of large and small sunspot groups, and ii) a double maximum is coming for Solar Cycle 24.

Large-scale Coronal Propagating Fronts in Solar Eruptions as Observed by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on Board the Solar Dynamics Observatory\,--\,An Ensemble Study

This paper presents a study of a large sample of global disturbances in the solar corona with characteristic propagating fronts as intensity enhancement, similar to the phenomena that have often been referred to as EIT waves or EUV waves. Now Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) images obtained by the {\it Atmospheric Imaging Assembly} (AIA) on board the {\it Solar Dynamics Observatory} (SDO) provide a significantly improved view of these large-scale coronal propagating fronts (LCPFs). Between April 2010 and January 2013, a total of 171 LCPFs have been identified through visual inspection of AIA images in the 193 \AA\ channel. Here we focus on the 138 LCPFs that are seen to propagate across the solar disk, first studying how they are associated with flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and type II radio bursts. We measure the speed of the LCPF in various directions until it is clearly altered by active regions or coronal holes. The highest speed is extracted for each LCPF. It is often considerably higher than EIT waves. We do not find a pattern where faster LCPFs decelerate and slow LCPFs accelerate. Furthermore, the speeds are not strongly correlated with the flare intensity or CME magnitude, nor do they show an association with type II bursts. We do not find a good correlation either between the speeds of LCPFs and CMEs in a subset of 86 LCPFs observed by one or both of the {\it Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory} (STEREO) spacecraft as limb events.

A Challenging Solar Eruptive Event of 18 November 2003 and the Causes of the 20 November Geomagnetic Superstorm. II. CMEs, Shock Waves, and Drifting Radio Bursts

We continue our study (Grechnev et al. (2013), doi:10.1007/s11207-013-0316-6; Paper I) on the 18 November 2003 geoffective event. To understand possible impact on geospace of coronal transients observed on that day, we investigated their properties from solar near-surface manifestations in extreme ultraviolet, LASCO white-light images, and dynamic radio spectra. We reconcile near-surface activity with the expansion of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and determine their orientation relative to the earthward direction. The kinematic measurements, dynamic radio spectra, and microwave and X-ray light curves all contribute to the overall picture of the complex event and confirm an additional eruption at 08:07 – 08:20 UT close to the solar disk center presumed in Paper I. Unusual characteristics of the ejection appear to match those expected for a source of the 20 November superstorm but make its detection in LASCO images hopeless. On the other hand, none of the CMEs observed by LASCO seem to be a promising candidate for a source of the superstorm being able to produce, at most, a glancing blow on the Earth’s magnetosphere. Our analysis confirms free propagation of shock waves revealed in the event and reconciles their kinematics with "EUV waves" and dynamic radio spectra up to decameters.

Microwave Negative Bursts as Indications of Reconnection between Eruptive Filaments and Large-Scale Coronal Magnetic Environment

Low-temperature plasma ejected in solar eruptions can screen active regions as well as quiet solar areas. Absorption phenomena can be observed in microwaves as ‘negative bursts’ and in different spectral domains. We analyze two very different recent events with such phenomena and present an updated systematic view of solar events associated with negative bursts. Related filament eruptions can be normal, without essential changes of shape and magnetic configuration, and ‘anomalous’. The latter are characterized by disintegration of an eruptive filament and dispersal of its remnants as a cloud over a large part of solar disk. Such phenomena can be observed as giant depressions in the He II 304 A line. One of possible scenarios for an anomalous eruption is proposed in terms of reconnection of filament’s internal magnetic fields with external large-scale coronal surrounding.

Structure of sunspot penumbral filaments: a remarkable uniformity of properties

The sunspot penumbra comprises numerous thin, radially elongated filaments that are central for heat transport within the penumbra, but whose structure is still not clear. To investigate the fine-scale structure of these filaments, we perform a depth-dependent inversion of spectropolarimetric data of a sunspot very close to solar disk center obtained by Hinode (SOT/SP). We have used a recently developed spatially coupled 2D inversion scheme which allows us to analyze the fine structure of individual penumbral filaments up to the diffraction limit of the telescope. Filaments of different sizes in all parts of penumbra display very similar magnetic field strengths, inclinations and velocity patterns. The similarities allowed us to average all these filaments and to extract the physical properties common to all of them. This average filament shows upflows associated with an upward pointing field at its inner, umbral end and along its axis, downflows along the lateral edge and strong downflows in the outer end associated with a nearly vertical, strong and downward pointing field. The upflowing plasma is significantly hotter than the downflowing plasma. The hot, tear-shaped head of the averaged filament can be associated with a penumbral grain. The central part of the filament shows nearly horizontal fields with strengths of ~1kG. The field above the filament converges, whereas a diverging trend is seen in the deepest layers near the head of the filament. We put forward a unified observational picture of a sunspot penumbral filament. It is consistent with such a filament being a magneto-convective cell, in line with recent MHD simulations. The uniformity of its properties over the penumbra sets constraints on penumbral models and simulations. The complex and inhomogeneous structure of the filament provides a natural explanation for a number of long-running controversies in the literature.

Calibration of the 6302/6301 Stokes V line ratio in terms of the 5250/5247 ratio

Four decades ago the Stokes V line ratio in the Fe I 5247.06 and 5250.22 {\AA} lines was introduced as a powerful means of exploring the intrinsic field strengths at sub-pixel scales, which led to the discovery that most of the photospheric flux is in intermittent kG form. The "green" 5247-5250 line pair is unique because it allows the magnetic-field effects to be isolated from the thermodynamic effects. No other line pair with this property has since been identified. In recent years much of the magnetic-field diagnostics has been based on the "red" Fe I 6301.5 and 6302.5 {\AA} line pair, since it was chosen in the design of the Hinode space observatory. Although thermodynamic effects severely contaminate the magnetic-field signatures for this line ratio, it is still possible to use it to extract information on intrinsic magnetic fields, but only after it has been "renormalized", since otherwise it produces fictitious, superstrong fields everywhere. In the present work we explore the joint behavior of these two line ratios to determine how the "contaminated" red line ratio can be translated into the corresponding green line ratio, which then allows for a direct interpretation in terms of intrinsic magnetic fields. Our observations are mainly based on recordings with the ZIMPOL-3 spectro-polarimeter at IRSOL in Locarno, Switzerland, complemented by data from the STOP telescope at the Sayan solar observatory (Irkutsk, Russia). The IRSOL observations are unique by allowing both the green and red line pairs to be recorded simultaneously on the same CCD sensor. We show how the line ratios depend on both the measured flux densities and on the heliocentric distance (the \mu\ value on the solar disk), and finally derive the calibration function that enables the red line ratio to be translated to the green ratio for each \mu\ value.

Filament eruption on 2010 October 21 from three viewpoints

A filament eruption on 2010 October 21 observed from three different viewpoints by the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) and the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) is analyzed with invoking also data from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and the Kanzelhoehe Solar Observatory. The position of the filament just before the eruption at the central meridian not far from the center of the solar disk was favorable for photospheric magnetic field measurements in the area below the filament. Because of this, we were able to calculate with high precision the distribution of the coronal potential magnetic field near the filament. We found that the filament began to erupt when it approached the height in the corona where the magnetic field decay index was greater than one. We determined also that during the initial stage of the eruption the filament moved along the magnetic neutral surface.

Sunspot positions and sizes for 1825-1867 from the observations by Samuel Heinrich Schwabe

Samuel Heinrich Schwabe made 8486 drawings of the solar disk with sunspots in the period from November 5, 1825 to December 29, 1867. We have measured sunspot sizes and heliographic positions on digitized images of these drawings. A total of about 135,000 measurements of individual sunspots are available in a data base. Positions are accurate to about 5% of the solar radius or to about three degrees in heliographic coordinates in the solar disk center. Sizes were given in 12 classes as estimated visually with circular cursor shapes on the screen. Most of the drawings show a coordinate grid aligned with the celestial coordinate system. A subset of 1168 drawings have no indication of their orientation. We have used a Bayesian estimator to infer the orientations of the drawings as well as the average heliographic spot positions from a chain of drawings of several days, using the rotation profile of the present Sun. The data base also includes all information available from Schwabe on spotless days.

A Detailed Comparison Between The Observed and Synthesized Properties of a Simulated Type ii Spicule [Replacement]

We performed a 3D radiative MHD simulation of the solar atmosphere. This simulation shows a jet-like feature that shows similarities to the type II spicules observed for the first time with Hinode. Rapid Blueshifted Events (RBEs) on the solar disk are associated with these spicules. Observational results suggest they may contribute significantly in supplying the corona with hot plasma. We perform a detailed comparison of the properties of the simulated jet with those of type II spicules (observed with Hinode) and RBEs (with ground-based instruments). We analyze variety of synthetic emission and absorption lines from the simulations including chromospheric Ca II and Ha to TR and coronal temperatures (10E4 to several 10E6K). We compare their synthetic intensities, line profiles, Doppler shifts, line widths and asymmetries with observations from Hinode/SOT and EIS, SOHO/SUMER, SST and SDO/AIA. Many properties of the synthetic observables resemble the observations, and we describe in detail the physical processes that lead to these observables. Detailed analysis of the synthetic observables provides insight into how observations should be analyzed to derive information about physical variables in such a dynamic event. For example, we find that LOS superposition in the optically thin atmosphere requires the combination of Doppler shifts and spectral line asymmetry to determine the velocity in the jet. Other properties differ from the observations, especially in the chromospheric lines. The mass density of the part of the spicule with a chromospheric temperature is too low to produce significant opacity in chromospheric lines. These and other discrepancies are described in detail, and we discuss which mechanisms and physical processes may need to be included in the MHD simulations to mimic the thermodynamic processes of the chromosphere and corona, in particular to reproduce type II spicules.

A Detailed Comparison Between The Observed and Synthesized Properties of a Simulated Type ii Spicule

We performed a 3D radiative MHD simulation of the solar atmosphere. This simulation shows a jet-like feature that shows similarities to the type II spicules observed for the first time with Hinode. Rapid Blueshifted Events (RBEs) on the solar disk are associated with these spicules. Observational results suggest they may contribute significantly in supplying the corona with hot plasma. We perform a detailed comparison of the properties of the simulated jet with those of type II spicules (observed with Hinode) and RBEs (with ground-based instruments). We analyze variety of synthetic emission and absorption lines from the simulations including chromospheric Ca II and Ha to TR and coronal temperatures (10E4 to several 10E6K). We compare their synthetic intensities, line profiles, Doppler shifts, line widths and asymmetries with observations from Hinode/SOT and EIS, SOHO/SUMER, SST and SDO/AIA. Many properties of the synthetic observables resemble the observations, and we describe in detail the physical processes that lead to these observables. Detailed analysis of the synthetic observables provides insight into how observations should be analyzed to derive information about physical variables in such a dynamic event. For example, we find that LOS superposition in the optically thin atmosphere requires the combination of Doppler shifts and spectral line asymmetry to determine the velocity in the jet. Other properties differ from the observations, especially in the chromospheric lines. The mass density of the part of the spicule with a chromospheric temperature is too low to produce significant opacity in chromospheric lines. These and other discrepancies are described in detail, and we discuss which mechanisms and physical processes may need to be included in the MHD simulations to mimic the thermodynamic processes of the chromosphere and corona, in particular to reproduce type II spicules.

A Change of Solar He II EUV Global Network Structure of the Transition Region as an Indicator of Geo-Effectiveness of Solar Minima

Solar activity during 2007–2009 was very low, causing anomalously low thermospheric density. A comparison of solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) irradiance in the He II spectral band (26 to 34 nm) from the Solar Extreme ultraviolet Monitor (SEM), one of instruments on the Charge Element and Isotope Analysis System (CELIAS) onboard of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) for the two latest solar minima showed a decrease of the absolute irradiance of about 15 +- 6 % during the solar minimum between Cycles 23 and 24 compared with the Cycles 22/23 minimum when a yearly running mean filter was used. We found that some local, shorter-term minima including those with the same absolute EUV flux in the SEM spectral band show a larger concentration of spatial power in the global network structure from the 30.4 nm SOHO Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) images for the local minimum of 1996 compared with the minima of 2008–2011. We interpret this larger concentration of spatial power in the transition region’s global network structure as a larger number of larger area features on the solar disk. Such changes in the global network structure during solar minima may characterize, in part, the geo-effectiveness of the solar He II EUV irradiance in addition to the estimations based on its absolute levels.

Impulsive Thermal X-ray Emission from a Low-lying Coronal Loop

Understanding the relationship among different emission components plays an essential role in the study of particle acceleration and energy conversion in solar flares. In flares where gradual and impulsive emission components can be readily identified the impulsive emission has been attributed to non-thermal particles. We carry out detailed analysis of H\alpha\ and X-ray observations of a GOES class B microflare loop on the solar disk. The impulsive hard X-ray emission, however, is found to be consistent with a hot, quasi-thermal origin, and there is little evidence of emission from chromospheric footpoints, which challenges conventional models of flares and reveals a class of microflares associated with dense loops. H\alpha\ observations indicate that the loop lies very low in the solar corona or even in the chromosphere and both emission and absorption materials evolve during the flare. The enhanced H\alpha\ emission may very well originate from the photosphere when the low-lying flare loop heats up the underlying chromosphere and reduces the corresponding H\alpha\ opacity. These observations may be compared with detailed modeling of flare loops with the internal kink instability, where the mode remains confined in space without apparent change in the global field shape, to uncover the underlying physical processes and to probe the structure of solar atmosphere.

Interplay of three kinds of motion in the disk counterpart of type II spicules: up-flow, transversal and torsional motions

Recently, it was shown that the complex dynamical behaviour of spicules has to be interpreted as the result of simultaneous action of three kinds of motion: (1) field aligned flows, (2) swaying motions, and (3) torsional motions. We use high-quality observations from CRISP at the SST to investigate signs of these different kinetic modes in spicules on the disk. Earlier, rapid blue-shifted excursions (RBEs), short-lived absorption features in the blue wing of chromospheric spectral lines, were identified as the disk counterpart of type II spicules. Here we report the existence of similar absorption features in the red wing of the Ca II 8542 and Halpha lines: rapid red-shifted excursions (RREs). RREs are found over the whole solar disk and are located in the same regions as RBEs: in the vicinity of magnetic field concentrations. RREs have similar characteristics as RBEs: they have similar lengths, widths, lifetimes, and average Doppler velocity. The striking similarity of RREs to RBEs implies that RREs are a manifestation of the same physical phenomenon and that spicules harbour motions that can result in a net red-shift when observed on-disk. We find that RREs are less abundant than RBEs and we interpret the higher number of RBEs and the decreased imbalance towards the limb as an indication that field-aligned up-flows have a significant contribution to the net Dopplershift. Most RREs and RBEs are observed in isolation but we find many examples of parallel and touching RRE/RBE pairs which appear to be part of the same spicule. We interpret the existence of these RRE/RBE pairs as signs that torsional motion is an important characteristic of spicules. The fact that most RBEs and RREs are observed in isolation agrees with the idea that transversal swaying motion is another important kinetic mode. We find examples of transitions from RRE to RBE and vice versa.

Eruption of the magnetic flux rope in a fast decayed active region

An isolated and fast decayed active region (NOAA 9729) was observed when passing through solar disk. There is only one CME related with it that give us a good opportunity to investigate the whole process of the CME. Filament in this active region rises up rapidly and then hesitates and disintegrates into flare loops. The rising filament from EIT images separates into two parts just before eruption. A new filament reforms several hours later after CME and the axis of this new one rotates clockwise about 22 degrees comparing with that of the former one. We also observed a bright transient J-shaped X-ray sigmoid immediately appears after filament eruption. It quickly develops into a soft X-ray cusp and rises up firstly then drops down. Two magnetic cancelation regions have been observed clearly just before filament eruption. Moreover, the magnetic flux rope erupted as the magnetic helicity approach the maximum and the normalized helicity is -0.036 when the magnetic flux rope erupted, which is close to the prediction value based on the theoretical non-linear force-free model.

Full halo coronal mass ejections: Do we need to correct the projection effect in terms of velocity? [Replacement]

The projection effect is one of the biggest obstacles in learning the real properties of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and forecasting their geoeffectiveness. To evaluate the projection effect, 86 full halo CMEs (FHCMEs) listed in the CDAW CME catalog from 2007 March 1 to 2012 May 31 are investigated. By applying the Graduated Cylindrical Shell (GCS) model, we obtain the de-projected values of the propagation velocity, direction and angular width of these FHCMEs, and compare them with the projected values measured in the plane-of-sky. Although these CMEs look full halo in the view angle of SOHO, it is found that their propagation directions and angular widths could vary in a large range, implying projection effect is a major reason causing a CME being halo, but not the only one. Furthermore, the comparison of the de-projected and projected velocities reveals that most FHCMEs originating within 45$^\circ$ of the Sun-Earth line with a projected speed slower than 900 km s$^{-1}$ suffer from large projection effect, while the FHCMEs originating far from the vicinity of solar disk center or moving faster than 900 km s$^{-1}$ have small projection effect. The results suggest that not all of FHCMEs need to correct projection effect for their velocities.

Variation of the Diameter of the Sun as Measured by the Solar Disk Sextant (SDS)

The balloon-borne Solar Disk Sextant (SDS) experiment has measured the angular size of the Sun on seven occasions spanning the years 1992 to 2011. The solar half-diameter — observed in a 100-nm wide passband centered at 615 nm — is found to vary over that period by up to 200 mas, while the typical estimated uncertainty of each measure is 20 mas. The diameter variation appears as if it might be cyclic, although it is not in phase with the solar activity cycle; thus, the measured diameter variation is not simply an observational artifact of surface activity. The SDS is described here in detail, as is the complete analysis procedure necessary to calibrate the instrument and allow comparison of diameter measures across decades.

Variation of the Diameter of the Sun as Measured by the Solar Disk Sextant (SDS) [Replacement]

The balloon-borne Solar Disk Sextant (SDS) experiment has measured the angular size of the Sun on seven occasions spanning the years 1992 to 2011. The solar half-diameter — observed in a 100-nm wide passband centred at 615 nm — is found to vary over that period by up to 200 mas, while the typical estimated uncertainty of each measure is 20 mas. The diameter variation is not in phase with the solar activity cycle; thus, the measured diameter variation cannot be explained as an observational artefact of surface activity. Other possible instrument-related explanations for the observed variation are considered but found unlikely, leading us to conclude that the variation is real. The SDS is described here in detail, as is the complete analysis procedure necessary to calibrate the instrument and allow comparison of diameter measures across decades.

Nonlinear Force-Free Magnetic Field Fitting to Coronal Loops with and without Stereoscopy

We developed a new nonlinear force-free magnetic field (NLFFF) forward-fitting algorithm based on an analytical approximation of force-free and divergence-free NLFFF solutions, which requires as input a line-of-sight magnetogram and traced 2D loop coordinates of coronal loops only, in contrast to stereoscopically triangulated 3D loop coordinates used in previous studies. Test results of simulated magnetic configurations and from four active regions observed with STEREO demonstrate that NLFFF solutions can be fitted with equal accuracy with or without stereoscopy, which relinquishes the necessity of STEREO data for magnetic modeling of active regions (on the solar disk). The 2D loop tracing method achieves a 2D misalignment of $\mu_2=2.7^\circ\pm 1.3^\circ$ between the model field lines and observed loops, and an accuracy of $\approx 1.0%$ for the magnetic energy or free magnetic energy ratio. The three times higher spatial resolution of TRACE or SDO/AIA (compared with STEREO) yields also a proportionally smaller misalignment angle between model fit and observations. Visual/manual loop tracings are found to produce more accurate magnetic model fits than automated tracing algorithms. The computation time of the new forward-fitting code amounts to a few minutes per active region.

Rotation rates of the coronal holes and their probable anchoring depths

For the years 2001-2008, we use full-disk, SOHO/EIT 195 $\AA$ calibrated images to determine latitudinal and day to day variations of the rotation rates of coronal holes. We estimate the weighted average of heliographic coordinates such as latitude and longitude from the central meridian on the observed solar disk. For different latitude zones between $40^{o}$ north – $40^{o}$ south, we compute rotation rates, and find that, irrespective of their area, number of days observed on the solar disk and latitudes, coronal holes rotate rigidly. Combined for all the latitude zones, we also find that coronal holes rotate rigidly during their evolution history. In addition, for all latitude zones, coronal holes follow a rigid body rotation law during their first appearance. Interestingly, average first rotation rate ($\sim 438 nHz$) of the coronal holes, computed from their first appearance on the solar disk, match with rotation rate of the solar interior only below the tachocline.

Near-Sun Flux Rope Structure of CMEs

We have used the Krall flux-rope model (Krall and St. Cyr, Astrophys. J. 2006, 657, 1740) (KFR) to fit 23 magnetic cloud (MC)-CMEs and 30 non-cloud ejecta (EJ)-CMEs in the Living With a Star (LWS) Coordinated Data Analysis Workshop (CDAW) 2011 list. The KFR-fit results shows that the CMEs associated with MCs (EJs) have been deflected closer to (away from) the solar disk center (DC), likely by both the intrinsic magnetic structures inside an active region (AR) and ambient magnetic structures (e.g. nearby ARs, coronal holes, and streamers, etc.). The mean propagation latitudes and longitudes of the EJ-CMEs (18, 11) were larger than those of the MC-CMEs (11, 6) by 7 and 5, respectively. Furthermore, the KFR-fit widths showed that the MC- CMEs are wider than the EJ-CMEs. The mean fitting face-on width and edge-on width of the MC-CMEs (EJ-CMEs) were 87 (85) and 70 (63), respectively. The deflection away from DC and narrower angular widths of the EJ-CMEs have caused the observing spacecraft to pass over only their flanks and miss the central flux-rope structures. The results of this work support the idea that all CMEs have a flux-rope structure.

Rotating Motions and Modeling of the Erupting Solar Polar Crown Prominence on 2010 December 6

A large polar-crown prominence composed of different segments spanning nearly the entire solar disk erupted on 2010 December 6. Prior to the eruption, the filament in the active region part splits into two layers: a lower layer and an elevated layer. The eruption occurs in several episodes. Around 14:12 UT, the lower layer of the active region filament breaks apart, one part ejects towards the west, while the other part ejects towards the east, which leads to the explosive eruption of the eastern quiescent filament. During the early rise phase, part of the quiescent filament sheet displays strong rolling motion (observed by STEREO$\_$B) in the clockwise direction (views from east to west) around the filament axis. This rolling motion appears to start from the border of the active region, then propagates towards the east. AIA observes another type of rotating motion: in some other parts of the erupting quiescent prominence the vertical threads turn horizontal, then turn upside down. The elevated active region filament does not erupt until 18:00 UT, when the erupting quiescent filament already reaches a very large height. We develop two simplified three-dimensional models which qualitatively reproduce the observed rolling and rotating motions. The prominence in the models is assumed to consist of a collection of discrete blobs that are tied to particular field lines of a helical flux rope. The observed rolling motion is reproduced by continuous twist injection into the flux rope in Model 1 from the active region side. Asymmetric reconnection induced by the asymmetric distribution of the magnetic fields on the two sides of the filament may cause the observed rolling motion. The rotating motion of the prominence threads observed by AIA is consistent with the removal of the field line dips in Model 2 from the top down during the eruption.

Development and first year of results from the heliometer of Observatorio Nacional

Recent research on global climate changes points to three distinct sources of climate disturbance: anthropogenic; natural changes in the oceans and atmosphere; and irregularities in the solar cycles. One of the most direct ways to survey an exogenous component of the climatic variability is through the measurement of variations in the diameter and shape of the solar disk. At Observatorio Nacional/MCTI, Rio de Janeiro, after several years of diameter observation using a CCD Solar Astrolabe, these measurements are now performed by a state-of-the-art Solar Heliometer. The heliometric method is one of the most successful techniques to measure small variations of angles. Its principle has been used for the latest space borne astrometric missions, aiming to milli-arcsecond precision. The success of this method relies in the fact that it minimizes the dependence of angular measurements to the thermal and mechanical stability of the instrument. However in the classic heliometer the objective is split into two halves to which is applied a linear displacement along the cut, thus still leaving room for a residual dependence with the focus, due to non-concentricity of the beams of the two images. The focus variation, as well as the effects brought by the large temperature variations during solar observations, was tackled in the Solar Heliometer by having all optical elements and their niches made on CCZ, and the telescope tube on carbon fiber, both materials of negligible thermal coefficient. Additionally, the measures are made perpendicular to the separation direction and the plate scale can be known at every time from the solar motion itself. We present the results from the first year of measurements, in special exploring the upheaval of solar activity on late 2011.

Non-neutralized Electric Current Patterns in Solar Active Regions: Origin of the Shear-Generating Lorentz Force

Using solar vector magnetograms of the highest available spatial resolution and signal-to-noise ratio we perform a detailed study of electric current patterns in two solar active regions: a flaring/eruptive, and a flare-quiet one. We aim to determine whether active regions inject non-neutralized (net) electric currents in the solar atmosphere, responding to a debate initiated nearly two decades ago that remains inconclusive. We find that well-formed, intense magnetic polarity inversion lines (PILs) within active regions are the only photospheric magnetic structures that support significant net current. More intense PILs seem to imply stronger non-neutralized current patterns per polarity. This finding revises previous works that claim frequent injections of intense non-neutralized currents by most active regions appearing in the solar disk but also works that altogether rule out injection of non-neutralized currents. In agreement with previous studies, we also find that magnetically isolated active regions remain globally current-balanced. In addition, we confirm and quantify the preference of a given magnetic polarity to follow a given sense of electric currents, indicating a dominant sense of twist in active regions. This coherence effect is more pronounced in more compact active regions with stronger PILs and must be of sub-photospheric origin. Our results yield a natural explanation of the Lorentz force, invariably generating velocity and magnetic shear along strong PILs, thus setting a physical context for the observed pre-eruption evolution in solar active regions.

Acoustic Mode Frequencies of the Sun during the Minimum Phase between Solar Cycles 23 and 24

We investigate the spatial and temporal variations of the high-degree mode frequencies calculated over localized regions of the Sun during the extended minimum phase between solar cycles 23 and 24. The frequency shifts measured relative to the spatial average over the solar disk indicate that the correlation between the frequency shift and magnetic field strength during the low-activity phase is weak. The disk-averaged frequency shifts computed relative to a minimal activity period also reveal a moderate correlation with different activity indices, with a maximum linear correlation of about 72%. From the investigation of the frequency shifts at different latitudinal bands, we do not find a consensus period for the onset of solar cycle 24. The frequency shifts corresponding to most of the latitudes in the northern hemisphere and 30 degree south of the equator indicate the minimum epoch to be February 2008, which is earlier than inferred from solar activity indices.

Comparison of Ground- and Space-based Longitudinal Magnetograms

We compare photospheric line-of-sight magnetograms from the Synoptic Long-term Investigations of the Sun (SOLIS) vector spectromagnetograph (VSM) instrument with observations from the 150-foot Solar Tower at Mt. Wilson (MWO), Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) on Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), and Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) on Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). We find very good agreement between VSM and the other data sources for both disk-averaged flux densities and pixel-by-pixel measurements. We show that the VSM mean flux density time series is of consistently high signal-to-noise with no significant zero-offsets. We discuss in detail some of the factors -spatial resolution, flux dependence and position on the solar disk- affecting the determination of scaling between VSM and SOHO/MDI or SDO/HMI magnetograms. The VSM flux densities agree well with spatially smoothed data from MDI and HMI, although the scaling factors show clear dependence on flux density. The factor to convert VSM to HMI increases with increasing flux density (from $\approx$1 to $\approx$1.5). The nonlinearity is smaller for the VSM vs. ~SOHO/MDI scaling factor (from $\approx$1 to $\approx$1.2).

Multi-point shock and flux rope analysis of multiple interplanetary coronal mass ejections around 2010 August 1 in the inner heliosphere

We present multi-point in situ observations of a complex sequence of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) which may serve as a benchmark event for numerical and empirical space weather prediction models. On 2010 August 1, instruments on various space missions (Solar Dynamics Observatory/ Solar and Heliospheric Observatory/Solar-TErrestrial-RElations-Observatory) monitored several CMEs originating within tens of degrees from solar disk center. We compare their imprints on four widely separated locations, spanning 120 degree in heliospheric longitude, with radial distances from the Sun ranging from MESSENGER (0.38 AU) to Venus Express (VEX, at 0.72 AU) to Wind, ACE and ARTEMIS near Earth, and STEREO-B close to 1 AU. Calculating shock and flux rope parameters at each location points to a non-spherical shape of the shock, and shows the global configuration of the interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs), which have interacted, but do not seem to have merged. VEX and STEREO-B observed similar magnetic flux ropes (MFRs), in contrast to structures at Wind. The geomagnetic storm was intense, reaching two minima in the Dst index (~ -100 nT), caused by the sheath region behind the shock and one of two observed MFRs. MESSENGER received a glancing blow of the ICMEs, and the events missed STEREO-A entirely. The observations demonstrate how sympathetic solar eruptions may immerse at least 1/3 of the heliosphere in the ecliptic with their distinct plasma and magnetic field signatures. We also emphasize the difficulties in linking the local views derived from single-spacecraft observations to a consistent global picture, pointing to possible alterations from the classical picture of ICMEs.

The June 2012 transit of Venus. Framework for interpretation of observations

Ground based observers have on 5/6th June 2012 the last opportunity of the century to watch the passage of Venus across the solar disk from Earth. Venus transits have traditionally provided unique insight into the Venus atmosphere through the refraction halo that appears at the planet outer terminator near ingress/egress. Much more recently, Venus transits have attracted renewed interest because the technique of transits is being successfully applied to the characterization of extrasolar planet atmospheres. The current work investigates theoretically the interaction of sunlight and the Venus atmosphere through the full range of transit phases, as observed from Earth and from a remote distance. Our model predictions quantify the relevant atmospheric phenomena, thereby assisting the observers of the event in the interpretation of measurements and the extrapolation to the exoplanet case. Our approach relies on the numerical integration of the radiative transfer equation, and includes refraction, multiple scattering, atmospheric extinction and solar limb darkening, as well as an up to date description of the Venus atmosphere. We produce synthetic images of the planet terminator during ingress/egress that demonstrate the evolving shape, brightness and chromaticity of the halo. Guidelines are offered for the investigation of the planet upper haze from vertically-unresolved photometric measurements. In this respect, the comparison with measurements from the 2004 transit appears encouraging. We also show integrated lightcurves of the Venus/Sun system at various phases during transit and calculate the respective Venus-Sun integrated transmission spectra. The comparison of the model predictions to those for a Venus-like planet free of haze and clouds (and therefore a closer terrestrial analogue) complements the discussion and sets the conclusions into a broader perspective.

Hough Transform to study the magnetic confinement of Solar Spicules

One of the important parameters of the ubiquitous spicules rising intermittently above the surface of the Sun is the variation of spicule spline orientation with respect to the solar coordinates, presumably reflecting the focusing of ejection by the coronal magnetic field. Here we first use a method of tracing limb spicules using a combination of second derivative operators in multiple directions around each pixel to enhance the visibility of fine linear part of spicules. Furthermore, the Hough transform is used for a statistical analysis of spicule orientations in different regions around the solar limb, from the pole to the equator. Our results show a large difference of spicule apparent tilt angles in regions of: (i) the solar poles, (ii) the equator, (iii) the active regions and (iv) the coronal holes. Spicules are visible in a radial direction in polar regions with a tilt angle <20 degree. The tilt angle is even reduced inside a coronal hole (open magnetic field lines) to 10 degrees and at the lower latitude the tilt angle reaches values in excess of 50 degree. Usually, around an active region they show a wide range of apparent angle variations from -60 to +60 degrees, which is in close resemblance to the rosettes made of dark mottles and fibrils seen in projection with the solar disk.

Hough Transform to study the magnetic confinement of Solar Spicules [Replacement]

One of the important parameters of the ubiquitous spicules rising intermittently above the surface of the Sun is the variation of spicule spline orientation with respect to the solar coordinates, presumably reflecting the focusing of ejection by the coronal magnetic field. Here we first use a method of tracing limb spicules using a combination of second derivative operators in multiple directions around each pixel to enhance the visibility of fine linear part of spicules. Furthermore, the Hough transform is used for a statistical analysis of spicule orientations in different regions around the solar limb, from the pole to the equator. Our results show a large difference of spicule apparent tilt angles in regions of: (i) the solar poles, (ii) the equator, (iii) the active regions and (iv) the coronal holes. Spicules are visible in a radial direction in polar regions with a tilt angle <20 degree. The tilt angle is even reduced inside a coronal hole (open magnetic field lines) to 10 degrees and at the lower latitude the tilt angle reaches values in excess of 50 degree. Usually, around an active region they show a wide range of apparent angle variations from -60 to +60 degrees, which is in close resemblance to the rosettes made of dark mottles and fibrils seen in projection with the solar disk.

Hough Transform to study the magnetic confinement of Solar Spicules [Replacement]

One of the important parameters of the ubiquitous spicules rising intermittently above the surface of the Sun is the variation of spicule spline orientation with respect to the solar coordinates, presumably reflecting the focusing of ejection by the coronal magnetic field. Here we first use a method of tracing limb spicules using a combination of second derivative operators in multiple directions around each pixel to enhance the visibility of fine linear part of spicules. Furthermore, the Hough transform is used for a statistical analysis of spicule orientations in different regions around the solar limb, from the pole to the equator. Our results show a large difference of spicule apparent tilt angles in regions of: (i) the solar poles, (ii) the equator, (iii) the active regions and (iv) the coronal holes. Spicules are visible in a radial direction in polar regions with a tilt angle <20 degree. The tilt angle is even reduced inside a coronal hole (open magnetic field lines) to 10 degrees and at the lower latitude the tilt angle reaches values in excess of 50 degree. Usually, around an active region they show a wide range of apparent angle variations from -60 to +60 degrees, which is in close resemblance to the rosettes made of dark mottles and fibrils seen in projection with the solar disk.

Detection of Small-Scale Granular Structures in the Quiet Sun with the New Solar Telescope

Results of a statistical analysis of solar granulation are presented. A data set of 36 images of a quiet Sun area on the solar disk center was used. The data were obtained with the 1.6 m clear aperture New Solar Telescope (NST) at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) and with a broad-band filter centered at the TiO (705.7 nm) spectral line. The very high spatial resolution of the data (diffraction limit of 77 km and pixel scale of 0.$"$0375) augmented by the very high image contrast (15.5$\pm$0.6%) allowed us to detect for the first time a distinct subpopulation of mini-granular structures. These structures are dominant on spatial scales below 600 km. Their size is distributed as a power law with an index of -1.8 (which is close to the Kolmogorov’s -5/3 law) and no predominant scale. The regular granules display a Gaussian (normal) size distribution with a mean diameter of 1050 km. Mini-granular structures contribute significantly to the total granular area. They are predominantly confined to the wide dark lanes between regular granules and often form chains and clusters, but different from magnetic bright points. A multi-fractality test reveals that the structures smaller than 600 km represent a multi-fractal, whereas on larger scales the granulation pattern shows no multi-fractality and can be considered as a Gaussian random field. The origin, properties and role of the newly discovered population of mini-granular structures in the solar magneto-convection are yet to be explored.

Asymmetric Structure of Quiescent Filament Channels Observed by Hinode/XRT and STEREO/EUVI

We present a study on the structure of quiescent filament channels observed by Hinode/XRT and STEREO/EUVI from December 2006 to February 2009. For 10 channels identified on the solar disk, we find that the emission on the two sides of the channel is asymmetric in both X-rays and EUV: one side has curved bright features while the other side has straight faint features. We interpret the results in terms of a magnetic flux rope model. The asymmetry in the emission is due to the variation in axial magnetic flux along the channel, which causes one polarity to turn into the flux rope, while the field lines from the other polarity are open or connected to very distant sources. For 70 channels identified by cavities at the limb, the asymmetry cannot be clearly identified.

Refractory Metal Nuggets -- Formation of the First Condensates in the Solar Nebula

As gas flowed from the solar accretion disk or solar nebula onto the proto-Sun, magnetic pressure gradients in the solar magnetosphere and the inner solar nebula provided an environment where some of this infalling flow was diverted to produce a low pressure, high temperature, gaseous, "infall" atmosphere around the inner solar nebula. The pressure in this inner disk atmosphere was mainly dependant on the accretion flow rate onto the star. High flow rates implied relatively high pressures, which decreased over time as the accretion rate decreased. In the first hundred thousand years after the formation of the solar nebula, accretional flow gas pressures were high enough to create submicron-sized Refractory Metal Nuggets (RMNs) – the precursors to Calcium Aluminum Inclusions (CAIs). Optimal temperatures and pressures for RMN formation may have occurred between 20,000 to 100,000 years after the formation of the solar nebula. It is possible that conditions were conducive to RMN/CAI formation over an eighty thousand year timescale. The "infall" atmosphere and the condensation of refractory particles within this atmosphere may be observable around the inner disks of other protostellar systems. The interaction of forces from magnetic fields with the radiation pressure from the proto-Sun and the inner solar accretion disk potentially produced an optical-magnetic trap above and below the inner solar nebula, which provided a relatively stable environment in which the RMNs/proto-CAIs could form and grow. These RMN formation sites only existed during accretion events from the proto-solar disk onto the proto-Sun. As such, the formation and growth time of a particular RMN was dependent on the timescale of its nascent accretion event.

Microwave burst with fine spectral structures in a solar flare on 2011 August 9

On August 9, 2011, there was an X6.9 flare event occurred near the west limb of solar disk. From the observation obtained by the spectrometer of the Chinese Solar Broadband Radio Spectrometer in Huairou (SBRS/Huairou) around the flare, we find that this powerful flare has only a short-duration microwave burst of about only 5 minutes, and during the short-duration microwave burst, there are several kinds of fine structures on the spectrogram. These fine structures include very short-period pulsations, millisecond spike bursts, and type III bursts. The most interesting is that almost all of the pulses of very short-period pulsation (VSP) are structured by clusters of millisecond timescales of spike bursts or type III bursts. And there exists three different kinds of frequency drift rates in the VSP: the frequency drift rates with absolute value of about 55 – 130 MHz s^{-1} in the pulse groups, the frequency drift rates with absolute value of about 2.91 – 16.9 GHz s^{-1} on each individual pulse, and the frequency drift rates with absolute value of about 15 – 25 GHz s$^{-1}$) at each individual spike burst or type III burst.

Towards the reconstruction of the EUV irradiance for solar cycle 23

We present preliminary reconstructions of the EUV from 26 to 34\,nm from February 1997 to May 2005, covering most of solar cycle 23. The reconstruction is based on synthetic EUV spectra calculated with the spectral synthesis code Solar Modeling in 3D (SolMod3D). These spectra are weighted by the relative area coverage of the coronal features as identified from EIT images. The calculations are based on one-dimensional atmospheric structures that represent a temporal and spatial mean of the chromosphere, transition region, and corona. The employed segmentation analysis considers coronal holes, the quiet corona, and active regions identified on the solar disk. The reconstructed EUV irradiance shows a good agreement with observations taken with the CELIAS/SEM instrument onboard SOHO. Further improvement of the reconstruction including more solar features as well as the off-limb detection of activity features will be addressed in the near future.

The chromosphere and prominence magnetometer

The Chromosphere and Prominence Magnetometer (ChroMag) is conceived with the goal of quantifying the intertwined dynamics and magnetism of the solar chromosphere and in prominences through imaging spectro-polarimetry of the full solar disk. The picture of chromospheric magnetism and dynamics is rapidly developing, and a pressing need exists for breakthrough observations of chromospheric vector magnetic field measurements at the true lower boundary of the heliospheric system. ChroMag will provide measurements that will enable scientists to study and better understand the energetics of the solar atmosphere, how prominences are formed, how energy is stored in the magnetic field structure of the atmosphere and how it is released during space weather events like flares and coronal mass ejections. An integral part of the ChroMag program is a commitment to develop and provide community access to the "inversion" tools necessary for the difficult interpretation of the measurements and derive the magneto-hydrodynamic parameters of the plasma. Measurements of an instrument like ChroMag provide critical physical context for the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) as well as ground-based observatories such as the future Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST).

The scattering polarization of the Ly-alpha lines of H I and He II taking into account PRD and J-state interference effects

Recent theoretical investigations have pointed out that the cores of the Ly-alpha lines of H I and He II should show measurable scattering polarization signals when observing the solar disk, and that the magnetic sensitivity, through the Hanle effect, of such linear polarization signals is suitable for exploring the magnetism of the solar transition region. Such investigations were carried out in the limit of complete frequency redistribution (CRD) and neglecting quantum interference between the two upper J-levels of each line. Here we relax both approximations and show that the joint action of partial frequency redistribution (PRD) and J-state interference produces much more complex fractional linear polarization (Q/I) profiles, with large amplitudes in their wings. Such wing polarization signals turn out to be very sensitive to the temperature structure of the atmospheric model, so that they can be exploited for constraining the thermal properties of the solar chromosphere. Finally, we show that the approximation of CRD without J-state interference is however suitable for estimating the amplitude of the linear polarization signals in the core of the lines, where the Hanle effect operates.

Detection of Gravitational Redshift on the Solar Disk by Using Iodine-Cell Technique

With an aim to examine whether the predicted solar gravitational redshift can be observationally confirmed under the influence of the convective Doppler shift due to granular motions, we attempted measuring the absolute spectral line-shifts on a large number of points over the solar disk based on an extensive set of 5188-5212A region spectra taken through an iodine-cell with the Solar Domeless Telescope at Hida Observatory. The resulting heliocentric line shifts at the meridian line (where no rotational shift exists), which were derived by finding the best-fit parameterized model spectrum with the observed spectrum and corrected for the earth’s motion, turned out to be weakly position-dependent as ~ +400 m/s near the disk center and increasing toward the limb up to ~ +600 m/s (both with a standard deviation of sigma ~ 100 m/s). Interestingly, this trend tends to disappear when the convectiveshift due to granular motions (~-300 m/s at the disk center and increasing toward the limb; simulated based on the two-component model along with the empirical center-to-limb variation) is subtracted, finally resulting in the averaged shift of 698 m/s (sigma = 113 m/s). Considering the ambiguities involved in the absolute wavelength calibration or in the correction due to convective Doppler shifts (at least several tens m/s, or more likely up to <~100 m/s), we may regard that this value is well consistent with the expected gravitational redshift of 633 m/s.

Radio-loud CMEs from the disk center lacking shocks at 1 AU

A coronal mass ejection (CME) associated with a type II burst and originating close to the center of the solar disk typically results in a shock at Earth in 2-3 days and hence can be used to predict shock arrival at Earth. However, a significant fraction (about 28%) of such CMEs producing type II bursts were not associated with shocks at Earth. We examined a set of 21 type II bursts observed by the Wind/WAVES experiment at decameter-hectometric (DH) wavelengths that had CME sources very close to the disk center (within a central meridian distance of 30 degrees), but did not have a shock at Earth. We find that the near-Sun speeds of these CMEs average to ~644 km/s, only slightly higher than the average speed of CMEs associated with radio-quiet shocks. However, the fraction of halo CMEs is only ~30%, compared to 54% for the radio-quiet shocks and 91% for all radio-loud shocks. We conclude that the disk-center radio-loud CMEs with no shocks at 1 AU are generally of lower energy and they drive shocks only close to the Sun and dissipate before arriving at Earth. There is also evidence for other possible processes that lead to the lack of shock at 1 AU: (i) overtaking CME shocks merge and one observes a single shock at Earth, and (ii) deflection by nearby coronal holes can push the shocks away from the Sun-Earth line, such that Earth misses these shocks. The probability of observing a shock at 1 AU increases rapidly above 60% when the CME speed exceeds 1000 km/s and when the type II bursts propagate to frequencies below 1 MHz.

Subsurface Flows in and Around Active Regions with Rotating and Non-rotating Sunspots

The temporal variation of the horizontal velocity in subsurface layers beneath three different types of active regions is studied using the technique of ring diagrams. In this study, we select active regions (ARs) 10923, 10930, 10935 from three consecutive Carrington rotations: AR 10930 contains a fast-rotating sunspot in a strong emerging active region while other two have non-rotating sunspots with emerging flux in AR 10923 and decaying flux in AR 10935. The depth range covered is from the surface to about 12 Mm. In order to minimize the influence of systematic effects, the selection of active and quiet regions is made so that these were observed at the same heliographic locations on the solar disk. We find a significant variation in both components of the horizontal velocity in active regions as compared to quiet regions. The magnitude is higher in emerging-flux regions than in the decaying-flux region, in agreement with earlier findings. Further, we clearly see a significant temporal variation in depth profiles of both zonal and meridional flow components in AR 10930, with the variation in the zonal component being more pronounced. We also notice a significant influence of the plasma motion in areas closest to the rotating sunspot in AR 10930 while areas surrounding the non-rotating sunspots in all three cases are least affected by the presence of the active region in their neighborhood.

The Relationship between Plasma Flow Velocities and Magnetic Field Parameters During the Emergence of Active Regions at the Solar Photospheric Level

A statistical study has been carried out of the relationship between plasma flow velocities and magnetic field parameters during the emergence of active regions at the solar photospheric level with SOHO/MDI data. We have investigated 224 emerging active regions with different spatial scales and position on the solar disk. The following relationships for the first hours of the emergence of active regions have been analysed: i) maximum negative Doppler velocities with the position of the emerging active regions on the solar disk; ii) maximum velocities of upflow and downflow of substance with the flux growth rate and magnetic field strength for the active regions emerging in the central part of the solar disk (the vertical component of plasma flows); iii) maximum positive and negative Doppler velocities with the flux growth rate for the active regions emerging near the limb (the horizontal component of plasma flows); iiii) the flux growth rate with the density of emerging magnetic fields. We have compared magnetic field parameters and the velocities for the first hours of the appearance of active regions with the total magnetic flux at the maximum of their development.

Observation and Simulation of Longitudinal Oscillations of an Active Region Prominence

Filament longitudinal oscillations have been observed on the solar disk in H$\alpha$. We intend to find an example of the longitudinal oscillations of a prominence, where the magnetic dip can be seen directly, and examine what is the restoring force of such kind of oscillations. We carry out a multiwavelength data analysis of the active region prominence oscillations above the western limb on 2007 February 8. Besides, we perform a one-dimensional hydrodynamic simulation of the longitudinal oscillations. The high-resolution observations by Hinode/SOT indicate that the prominence, seen as a concave-inward shape in lower-resolution Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) images, actually consists of many concave-outward threads, which is indicative of the existence of magnetic dips. After being injected into the dip region, a bulk of prominence material started to oscillate for more than 3.5 hours, with the period being 52 min. The oscillation decayed with time, with the decay timescale being 133 min. Our hydrodynamic simulation can well reproduce the oscillation period, but the damping timescale in the simulation is 1.5 times as long as the observations. The results clearly show the prominence longitudinal oscillations around the dip of the prominence and our study suggests that the restoring force of the longitudinal oscillations might be the gravity. Radiation and heat conduction are insufficient to explain the decay of the oscillations. Other mechanisms, such as wave leakage and mass accretion, have to be considered. The possible relation between the longitudinal oscillations and the later eruption of a prominence thread, as well as a coronal mass ejection (CME), is also discussed.

Flows at the Edge of an Active Region: Observation and Interpretation

Upflows observed at the edges of active regions have been proposed as the source of the slow solar wind. In the particular case of Active Region (AR) 10942, where such an upflow has been already observed, we want to evaluate the part of this upflow that actually remains confined in the magnetic loops that connect AR10942 to AR10943. Both active regions were visible simultaneously on the solar disk and were observed by STEREO/SECCHI EUVI. Using Hinode/EIS spectra, we determine the Doppler shifts and densities in AR10943 and AR10942, in order to evaluate the mass flows. We also perform magnetic field extrapolations to assess the connectivity between AR10942 and AR10943. AR10943 displays a persistent downflow in Fe XII. Magnetic extrapolations including both ARs show that this downflow can be connected to the upflow in AR10942. We estimate that the mass flow received by AR10943 areas connected to AR10942 represents about 18% of the mass flow from AR10942. We conclude that the upflows observed on the edge of active regions represent either large-scale loops with mass flowing along them (accounting for about one-fifth of the total mass flow in this example) or open magnetic field structures where the slow solar wind originates.

Coronal Diagnostics from Narrow-Band Images around 30.4 nm

Images taken in the band centered at 30.4 nm are routinely used to map the radiance of the He II Ly alpha line on the solar disk. That line is in fact one of the strongest if not the strongest line in the EUV observed in the solar spectrum, and one of the few lines in that wavelength range providing information on the upper chromosphere or lower transition region. When observing the off-limb corona, however, the contribution from the nearby Si XI 30.3 nm line can become significant. In this work we aim at estimating the relative contribution of those two lines in the solar corona around the minimum of solar activity. We combine measurements from CDS taken in August 2008 with temperature and density profiles from semi-empirical models of the corona to compute the radiances of the two lines, and of other representative coronal lines (e.g., Mg X 62.5 nm, Si XII 52.1 nm). Considering both diagnosed quantities from line ratios (temperatures and densities) and line radiances in absolute units, we obtain a good overall match between observations and models. We find that the Si XI line dominates the He II line from just above the limb up to ~2 R_Sun in streamers, while its contribution to narrow-band imaging in the 30.4 nm band is expected to become smaller, even negligible in the corona beyond ~2 – 3 R_Sun, the precise value being strongly dependent on the coronal temperature profile.

Coronal Diagnostics from Narrowband Images around 30.4 nm [Replacement]

Images taken in the band centered at 30.4 nm are routinely used to map the radiance of the He II Ly alpha line on the solar disk. That line is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, line in the EUV observed in the solar spectrum, and one of the few lines in that wavelength range providing information on the upper chromosphere or lower transition region. However, when observing the off-limb corona the contribution from the nearby Si XI 30.3 nm line can become significant. In this work we aim at estimating the relative contribution of those two lines in the solar corona around the minimum of solar activity. We combine measurements from CDS taken in August 2008 with temperature and density profiles from semiempirical models of the corona to compute the radiances of the two lines, and of other representative coronal lines (e.g., Mg X 62.5 nm, Si XII 52.1 nm). Considering both diagnosed quantities from line ratios (temperatures and densities) and line radiances in absolute units, we obtain a good overall match between observations and models. We find that the Si XI line dominates the He II line from just above the limb up to ~2 R_Sun in streamers, while its contribution to narrowband imaging in the 30.4 nm band is expected to become smaller, even negligible in the corona beyond ~2 – 3 R_Sun, the precise value being strongly dependent on the coronal temperature profile.

Magnetic helicity transported by flux emergence and shuffling motions in Solar Active Region NOAA 10930

We present a new methodology which can determine magnetic helicity transport by the passage of helical magnetic field lines from sub-photosphere and the shuffling motions of foot-points of preexisting coronal field lines separately. It is well known that only the velocity component which is perpendicular to the magnetic field ($\upsilon_{\perp B}$) has contribution to the helicity accumulation. Here, we demonstrate that $\upsilon_{\perp B}$ can be deduced from horizontal motion and vector magnetograms, under a simple relation of $\upsilon_t = \mu_t + \frac{\upsilon_n}{B_n} B_t$ as suggested by D$\acute{e}$moulin & Berger (2003). Then after dividing $\upsilon_{\perp B}$ into two components, as one is tangential and the other is normal to the solar surface, we can determine both terms of helicity transport. Active region (AR) NOAA 10930 is analyzed as an example during its solar disk center passage by using data obtained by the Spectro-Polarimeter and the Narrowband Filter Imager of Solar Optical Telescope on board Hinode. We find that in our calculation, the helicity injection by flux emergence and shuffling motions have the same sign. During the period we studied, the main contribution of helicity accumulation comes from the flux emergence effect, while the dynamic transient evolution comes from the shuffling motions effect. Our observational results further indicate that for this AR, the apparent rotational motion in the following sunspot is the real shuffling motions on solar surface.

Automation of the filament tracking in the frame of the HELIO project

We present a new method to automatically track filaments over the solar disk. The filaments are first detected on Meudon Spectroheliograph Halpha images of the Sun, applying the technique developed by Fuller, Aboudarham, and Bentley (2005). This latter combines cleaning processes, image segmentation based on region growing, and morphological parameters extraction, including the determination of filament skeletons. The coordinates of the skeleton pixels, given in a heliocentric system, are then converted in a more appropriate reference frame that follows the rotation of the Sun surface. In such a frame, a co-rotating filament is always located around the same position, and its skeletons (extracted from each image) are thus spatially close, forming a group of nearby features. In a third time, the shape of each skeleton is compared with its neighbours using a curve matching algorithm. This step will permit to define the probability P that two close filaments in the co-rotating frame, are actually the same one observed on two different images. At the end, the pairs of features for which the corresponding probability is greater than a threshold value, are associated using unique tracking identification numbers.\On a representative sample of filaments, the good agreement between automated and manual tracking confirms the reliability of the technique to be applied on large data sets. Especially, this code is already used in the frame of the Heliophysics Integrated Observatory (HELIO) to populate a catalogue dedicated to solar and heliospheric features (HFC). An extension of this method to others filament observations, and possibly the sunspots, faculae, and coronal holes tracking can be also envisaged.

Automation of the filament tracking in the framework of the HELIO project [Replacement]

We present a new method to automatically track filaments over the solar disk. The filaments are first detected on Meudon Spectroheliograph H{\alpha} images of the Sun, applying the technique developed by Fuller, Aboudarham, and Bentley (Solar phys. 227, 61, 2005). This technique combines cleaning processes, image segmentation based on region growing, and morphological parameter ex- traction, including the determination of filament skeletons. The coordinates of the skeleton pixels, given in a heliocentric system, are then converted to a more appropriate reference frame that follows the rotation of the Sun surface. In such a frame, a co-rotating filament is always located around the same position, and its skeletons (extracted from each image) are thus spatially close, forming a group of adjacent features. In a third step, the shape of each skeleton is compared with its neighbours using a curve-matching algorithm. This step will permit us to define the probability [P ] that two close filaments in the co-rotating frame are actually the same one observed on two different images. At the end, the pairs of features, for which the corresponding probability is greater than a threshold value, are associated using tracking identification indexes.On a representative sample of filaments, the good agreement between automated and manual tracking confirms the reliability of the technique to be applied on large data sets. Especially, this code is already used in the framework of the Heliophysics Integrated Observatory (HELIO) to populate a catalogue dedicated to solar and heliospheric features (HFC). An extension of this method to others filament observations, and possibly the sunspots, faculae, and coronal holes tracking can be also envisaged.

Vortices in the solar photosphere

Using numerical simulations of the magnetised solar photosphere and radiative diagnostics of the simulated photospheric models, we further analyse the physical nature of magnetic photospheric intergranular vortices. We confirm the magnetic nature of the vortices and find that most MHD Umov-Poynting flux is produced by horizontal vortex motions in the magnetised intergranular lanes. In addition, we consider possible ways to directly observe photospheric magnetic vortices using spectropolarimetry. Although horizontal plasma motions cannot be detected in the spectropolarimetric observations of solar disk centre, we find an observational signature of photospheric vortices in simulated observations of Stokes-V amplitude asymmetry close to the solar limb. Potential ways to find the vortices in the observations are discussed.

Study of single-lobed circular polarization profiles in the quiet Sun

The existence of asymmetries in the circular polarization (Stokes V) profiles emerging from the solar photosphere is known since the 1970s. These profiles require the presence of a velocity gradient along the line of sight, possibly associated with gradients of magnetic field strength, inclination and/or azimuth. We have focused our study on the Stokes V profiles showing extreme asymmetry in the from of only one lobe. Using Hinode spectropolarimetric measurements we have performed a statistical study of the properties of these profiles in the quiet sun. We show their spatial distribution, their main physical properties, how they are related with several physical observables and their behavior with respect to their position on the solar disk. The single lobed Stokes V profiles occupy roughly 2% of the solar surface. For the first time, we have observed their temporal evolution and have retrieved the physical conditions of the atmospheres from which they emerged using an inversion code implementing discontinuities of the atmospheric parameters along the line of sight. In addition, we use synthetic Stokes profiles from 3D magnetoconvection simulations to complement the results of the inversion. The main features of the synthetic single-lobed profiles are in general agreement with the observed ones, lending support to the magnetic and dynamic topologies inferred from the inversion. The combination of all these different analysis suggests that most of the single-lobed Stokes V profiles are signals coming from magnetic flux emergence and/or submergence processes taking place in small patches in the photospheric of the quiet sun.

 

You need to log in to vote

The blog owner requires users to be logged in to be able to vote for this post.

Alternatively, if you do not have an account yet you can create one here.

Powered by Vote It Up

^ Return to the top of page ^