EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 417, Number 3, April III 2004
Page(s) 1125 - 1132
Section The Sun
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20040022

A&A 417, 1125-1132 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20040022

Effect of spatial resolution on estimating the Sun's magnetic flux

N. A. Krivova and S. K. Solanki

Max Planck Institute for Aeronomy, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
    e-mail: solanki@linmpi.mpg.de
(Received 29 August 2003 / Accepted 14 December 2003 )

A critical question related to a possible secular trend in the Sun's total magnetic flux and consequently in solar irradiance is the total amount of magnetic flux present on the Sun and how it is distributed between active regions and the quiet Sun. NSO/Kitt Peak synoptic charts have in the past been used to estimate the total flux and the fraction of the flux in active regions and in the quiet Sun. Since a single pixel of these synoptic charts is much bigger than individual small-scale magnetic elements and opposite polarities may be present within the same pixel, some magnetic flux escaped notice. Here we estimate the fraction of the magnetic flux escaping detection in Kitt Peak synoptic charts. By artificially reducing the spatial resolution of MDI full-disc and high-resolution magnetograms we study the influence of the resolution on the measured total magnetic flux. Noise in the data poses the main difficulty to this approach and is carefully studied. It is concluded that at least half of the magnetic flux in the quiet Sun remains undetected in Kitt Peak synoptic charts and that the total flux present on the solar surface at maxima of activity is around twice the flux present at activity minima.

Key words: Sun: activity -- Sun: faculae -- Sun: magnetic fields -- Sun: solar-terrestrial relations -- Sun: sunspots

Offprint request: N. A. Krivova, natalie@linmpi.mpg.de

© ESO 2004