Properties of simulated sunspot umbral dots
Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Max-Planck-Str. 2, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 18 November 2009
Realistic 3D radiative MHD simulations reveal the magneto-convective processes underlying the formation of the photospheric fine structure of sunspots, including penumbral filaments and umbral dots. Here we provide results from a statistical analysis of simulated umbral dots and compare them with reports from high-resolution observations. A multi-level segmentation and tracking algorithm has been used to isolate the bright structures in synthetic bolometric and continuum brightness images. Areas, brightness, and lifetimes of the resulting set of umbral dots are found to be correlated: larger umbral dots tend to be brighter and live longer. The magnetic field strength and velocity structure of umbral dots on surfaces of constant optical depth in the continuum at 630 nm indicate that the strong field reduction and high velocities in the upper parts of the upflow plumes underlying umbral dots are largely hidden from spectro-polarimetric observations. The properties of the simulated umbral dots are generally consistent with the results of recent high-resolution observations. However, the observed population of small, short-lived umbral dots is not reproduced by the simulations, possibly owing to insufficient spatial resolution.
Key words: magnetic fields / Sun: photosphere / sunspots
© ESO, 2010