EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 420, Number 3, June IV 2004
Page(s) 1141 - 1152
Section The Sun
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20035660

A&A 420, 1141-1152 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20035660

Indications of shock waves in the solar photosphere

J. Rybák1, H. Wöhl2, A. Kucera1, A. Hanslmeier3 and O. Steiner2

1  Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, 05960 Tatranská Lomnica, Slovakia
2  Kiepenheuer-Institut für Sonnenphysik, Schöneckstr. 6, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
3  Institut für Geophysik, Astrophysik und Meteorologie, Universitätsplatz 5, 8010 Graz, Austria

(Received 11 November 2003 / Accepted 15 March 2004 )

High resolution observations of solar granulation near the solar limb are used in a search for hydrodynamic shocks caused by an abrupt braking of the fast (probably supersonic) horizontal flow of the granular plasma towards the intergranular lane. Shock signatures in the spectral line of Fe II 6456.38 Å of one particular observed shock event are investigated in detail. Evolution, amplitude, and spatial relation of the spectral line characteristics of the shock event are in agreement with predictions from numerical simulations for such shock phenomena in the solar photosphere. The dimensions and amplitudes of the observed shock signatures are comparable to predicted values when seeing and instrumental effects as well as a possible obliqueness of the shock front with respect to the observer's line-of-sight are taken into account. The temporal evolution of such an event is observed for the first time. The stable and declining phase of the event were studied for a time period of almost 2 min. A particular relationship was found between the shock event and a nearby G-band bright point located 2 '' from the shock event. It is suggestive that the observed shock is a causal consequence of the magnetic flux concentration, traced by the G-band bright point. Such a type of shock can appear outside the flux concentrations as a consequence of a rapid flux-tube motion.

Key words: Sun: photosphere -- Sun: granulation -- line: profiles -- shock waves

Offprint request: J. Rybák, choc@astro.sk

© ESO 2004