Volume 529, May 2011
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Published online||22 April 2011|
Horizontal flow fields observed in Hinode G-band images
Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Accepted: 10 March 2011
Context. The interaction of plasma motions and magnetic fields is an important mechanism, which drives the solar activity in all its facets. For example, photospheric flows are responsible for the advection of magnetic flux, the redistribution of flux during the decay of sunspots, and the build-up of magnetic shear in flaring active regions.
Aims. Systematic studies based on G-band data from the Japanese Hinode mission provide the means to gather statistical properties of horizontal flow fields. This facilitates comparative studies of solar features, e.g., G-band bright points, magnetic knots, pores, and sunspots at various stages of evolution and in distinct magnetic environments, which advances our understanding of the dynamic Sun.
Methods. We adapted local correlation tracking (LCT) to measure horizontal flow fields based on G-band images obtained with the Solar Optical Telescope on board Hinode. A total of about 200 time-series with a duration between 1–16 h and a cadence between 15–90 s were analyzed. Selecting a high-cadence (Δt = 15 s) as well as a long-duration (ΔT = 16 h) time-series enabled us to optimize and validate the LCT input parameters, which ensures a robust, reliable, uniform, and accurate processing of a huge data volume.
Results. The LCT algorithm produces best results for G-band images with a cadence of 60–90 s. If the cadence is lower, the velocity of slowly moving features will not be reliably detected. If the cadence is higher, the scene on the Sun will have evolved too much to bear any resemblance with the earlier situation. Consequently, in both instances horizontal proper motions are underestimated. The most reliable and yet detailed flow maps are produced using a Gaussian kernel with a size of 2560 km × 2560 km and a full-width-at-half-maximum (FWHM) of 1200 km (corresponding to the size of a typical granule) as sampling window.
Conclusions. Horizontal flow maps and graphics for visualizing the properties of photospheric flow fields are typical examples for value-added data products, which can be extracted from solar databases. The results of this study will be made available within the “small projects” section of the German Astrophysical Virtual Observatory (GAVO).
Key words: Sun: photosphere / Sun: surface magnetism / sunspots / Sun: granulation / techniques: image processing / methods: data analysis
© ESO, 2011
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