Discriminant analysis of solar bright points and faculae*
I. Classification method and center-to-limb distribution
Max-Planck Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Max-Planck-Straße 2, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 School of Space Research, Kyung Hee University, Yongin, Gyeonggi, 446-701, Korea
Accepted: 20 March 2009
Context. While photospheric magnetic elements appear mainly as Bright Points (BPs) at the disk center and as faculae near the limb, high-resolution images reveal the coexistence of BPs and faculae over a range of heliocentric angles. This is not explained by a “hot wall” effect through vertical flux tubes, and suggests that the transition from BPs to faculae needs to be quantitatively investigated.
Aims. To achieve this, we made the first recorded attempt to discriminate BPs and faculae, using a statistical classification approach based on Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA). This paper gives a detailed description of our method, and shows its application on high-resolution images of active regions to retrieve a center-to-limb distribution of BPs and faculae.
Methods. Bright “magnetic” features were detected at various disk positions by a segmentation algorithm using simultaneous G-band and continuum information. By using a selected sample of those features to represent BPs and faculae, suitable photometric parameters were identified for their discrimination. We then carried out LDA to find a unique discriminant variable, defined as the linear combination of the parameters that best separates the BPs and faculae samples. By choosing an adequate threshold on that variable, the segmented features were finally classified as BPs and faculae at all the disk positions.
Results. We thus obtained a Center-to-Limb Variation (CLV) of the relative number of BPs and faculae, revealing the predominance of faculae at all disk positions except close to disk center (μ ≥ 0.9).
Conclusions. Although the present dataset suffers from limited statistics, our results are consistent with other observations of BPs and faculae at various disk positions. The retrieved CLV indicates that at high resolution, faculae are an essential constituent of active regions all across the solar disk. We speculate that the faculae near disk center as well as the BPs away from disk center are associated with inclined fields.
Key words: Sun: photosphere / Sun: faculae, plages / Sun: magnetic fields / methods: statistical / techniques: high angular resolution / techniques: photometric
© ESO, 2009