Rotational periodicities in sunspot relative numbers*
Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 10 May 2007
Context.The search for active longitudes on the Sun has a long history, and many controversial results have been published. Recently the question became more important when active longitudes were found on other stars.
Aims.The aim of this paper is to investigate an integral measure of solar activity available for a long time interval and which allows enough frequency resolution for the investigation of active longitudes. Such a measure is given by the daily sunspot relative numbers.
Methods.A search for periodicities is performed with a classical Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), with a wavelet analysis and with the tool of superimposed epochs.
Results.The FFT yields a hump of power peaks near the synodic rotation period of 27 days, but only a very weak and insignificant enhancement around 13.5 days, indicating that the mean rotational variation of the sunspot numbers typically has one maximum and one minimum (overlaid by minor fluctuations). The wavelet analysis shows that spectral power for single periods varies for certain time intervals. A systematic drift during the solar activity cycle is not detected. Similar results are obtained from the superimposed epochs. Periodic “flip-flops” with time scales of a few years as for some stars are not found for the Sun in this investigation.
Conclusions.Sunspots are not distributed equally over the longitudes; there is a more active and a less active hemisphere. The rotation period derived from the pattern varies over long time scales. The results found in this work are not in favor of an explanation of the variations due to a differential rotation law. The rotation of the sunspot distribution pattern might reflect the internal rotation of the Sun, but it better fits the range of highest rotation rates in the upper convection zone than the rotation near the tachocline.
Key words: Sun: sunspots / Sun: rotation
© ESO, 2007