On the relation between continuum brightness and magnetic field in solar active regions
1 Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Max-Planck-Str. 2, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
2 Technische Universität Braunschweig, Institut für Theoretische Physik, Mendelssohnstrasse 3, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany
Received: 31 May 2012
Accepted: 12 December 2012
Context. Variations of solar irradiance are mainly determined by the changing coverage of the visible solar disk with magnetic flux concentrations. The relationship between brightness and field strength is an important ingredient for models and reconstructions of irradiance variations.
Aims. We assess the effect of limited observational resolution on the relationship between brightness and magnetic field by comparing comprehensive MHD simulations with observational results.
Methods. Simulations of magnetoconvection representing the near-surface layers of a plage region were used to determine maps of the continuum brightness and Stokes profiles for the Fe i line at 630.22 nm. After convolving with instrumental profiles, synthetic observations of the magnetic field were generated by applying a Stokes inversion code. We compare the resulting relation between brightness and apparent vertical magnetic field to the corresponding outcome derived from real observations of a plage region with the Hinode satellite.
Results. Consideration of the image smearing effects due to the limited resolution of the observations transform the largely monotonic relation between brightness and field strength at the original resolution of the simulations into a profile with a maximum at intermediate field strength, which is in good agreement with the observations.
Conclusions. Considering the effect of limited observational resolution renders the relation between brightness and magnetic field from comprehensive MHD simulations consistent with observational results. This is a necessary prerequisite for the utilization of simulations for models and reconstruction of solar irradiance variations.
Key words: Sun: surface magnetism / Sun: photosphere / Sun: faculae, plages
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