EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 378, Number 2, November I 2001
Page(s) 627 - 634
Section The Sun
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20011263

A&A 378, 627-634 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20011263

Investigation of weak solar magnetic fields

New observational results for the SrI 460.7 nm linear polarization and radiative transfer modeling
M. Faurobert1, J. Arnaud2, J. Vigneau2 and H. Frisch1

1  Département Cassini, UMR 6529, Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, BP 4229, 06304 Nice, France
2  UMR 5572, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, 14 avenue Édouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France

(Received 7 June 2001 / Accepted 3 August 2001 )

Scattering polarization measurements were obtained with THEMIS in July 2000, close to the solar south Pole and to the east Equator and in a period of maximum solar activity. Using the THEMIS multi-lines spectro-polarimetric mode (MTR), we observed simultaneously four spectral domains containing the 460.7 nm Sr I line, several molecular lines around 515.9 nm and the Na I D1 and Na I D2 lines. This allows us to scan different altitudes in the solar atmosphere at the same time and provides us with a large set of constraints to study the behaviour of the magnetic field. This paper is devoted to the Sr I line which exhibits quite a strong linear polarization peak outside active regions. A detailed radiative transfer modeling is performed in order to interpret the observed center-to-limb variations of the line intensity and polarization. It was shown previously (Faurobert-Scholl 1993) that this line, which is sensitive to the Hanle effect, can be used as a diagnostic tool for the presence of weak turbulent magnetic fields in the solar photosphere outside active regions. The line polarization rates that we measured in July 2000 are 25% lower than what has been reported previously, for observations near the minimum, or in the increasing phase, of the activity cycle (Stenflo et al. 1980). They are in agreement with other observations performed with a different observational set-up in August 2000 (Bommier & Molodij 2001). We show that they are consistent with the presence of a weak turbulent magnetic field with an average strength between 20 G and 30 G in the upper solar photosphere. This is about twice the value which was derived from previous observations. This result raises the possiblity of a long-term variation of the turbulent photospheric magnetic field with the activity cycle.

Key words: techniques: polarimetric -- techniques: spectroscopic -- Sun: atmosphere -- Sun: magnetic fields

Offprint request: M. Faurobert, faurob@obs-nice.fr

© ESO 2001