EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 494, Number 1, January IV 2009
Page(s) 269 - 286
Section The Sun
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:200810694
Published online 27 November 2008
A&A 494, 269-286 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:200810694

The solar chromosphere at high resolution with IBIS

II. Acoustic shocks in the quiet internetwork and the role of magnetic fields
A. Vecchio1, 2, G. Cauzzi1, 3, and K. P. Reardon1, 3

1  INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, 50125 Firenze, Italy
2  Dipartimento di Fisica, Università della Calabria, 87036 Rende (CS), Italy
    e-mail: vecchio@fis.unical.it
3  National Solar Observatory, PO Box 62, Sunspot NM, USA

Received 28 July 2008 / Accepted 16 October 2008

Context. The exact nature of the quiet solar chromosphere and especially its temporal variation, are still subjects of intense debate. One of the contentious issues is the possible role of the magnetic field in structuring the quieter solar regions.
Aims. We characterize the dynamics of the quiet inter-network chromosphere by studying the occurrence of acoustic shocks and their relation with the concomitant photospheric structure and dynamics, including small scale magnetic structures.
Methods. We analyze a comprehensive data set that includes high-resolution chromospheric (Ca II  854.2 nm) and photospheric (Fe I  709.0 nm) spectra obtained with the IBIS imaging spectrometer in two quiet-Sun regions. This is complemented by high-resolution sequences of MDI magnetograms of the same targets. From the chromospheric spectra we identify the spatio-temporal occurrence of the acoustic shocks. We compare it with the photospheric dynamics by means of both Fourier and wavelet analysis and study the influence of magnetic structures on the phenomenon.
Results. Mid-chromospheric shocks occur within the general chromospheric dynamics pattern of acoustic waves propagating from the photosphere. In particular, they appear as a response to underlying powerful photospheric motions at periodicities nearing the acoustic cut-off, consistent with 1-D hydrodynamical modeling. However, their spatial distribution within the supergranular cells is highly dependent on the local magnetic topology, both at the network and internetwork scale. We find that large portions of the internetwork regions undergo very few shocks, since they are “shadowed” by the horizontal component of the magnetic field. The latter is betrayed by the presence of chromospheric fibrils, observed in the core of the Ca II  line as slanted structures with distinct dynamical properties. The shadow mechanism also appears to operate on the very small scales of inter-network magnetic elements, and provides for a very pervasive influence of the magnetic field even in the quietest region analyzed.
Conclusions. The magnetic field might play a larger role in structuring the quiet solar chromosphere than normally assumed. The presence of fibrils highlights a clear disconnection between the photospheric dynamics and the response of the geometrically overlaying chromosphere. As these results hold for a mid-chromospheric indicator such as the Ca II  854.2 line, it is expected that diagnostics formed in higher layers, such as UV lines and continua, will be affected to a greater extent by the presence of magnetic fields, even in quiet regions. This is relevant for the chromospheric models that make use of such diagnostics.

Key words: Sun: chromosphere -- Sun: magnetic fields -- Sun: oscillations

© ESO 2009

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