Letter to the Editor
The statistical distribution of the magnetic-field strength in G-band bright points
National Solar Observatory,
Sacramento Peak, PO Box 62
Received: 24 October 2013
Accepted: 4 December 2013
Context. G-band bright points are small-sized features characterized by high photometric contrast. Theoretical investigations indicate that these features have associated magnetic-field strengths of 1 to 2 kG. Results from observations, however, lead to contradictory results, indicating magnetic fields of only kG strength in some and including hG strengths in others.
Aims. To understand the differences between measurements reported in the literature, and to reconcile them with results from theory, we analyzed the distribution of the magnetic-field strength of G-band bright features identified in synthetic images of the solar photosphere and its sensitivity to observational and methodological effects.
Methods. We investigated the dependence of magnetic-field strength distributions of G-band bright points identified in 3D magnetohydrodynamic simulations on feature selection method, data sampling, alignment, and spatial resolution.
Results. The distribution of the magnetic-field strength of G-band bright features shows two peaks, one at about 1.5 kG and one below 1 hG. The former corresponds to magnetic features, the second mostly to bright granules. Peaks at several hG are obtained only on spatially degraded or misaligned data.
Conclusions. Simulations show that magnetic G-band bright points have typically associated field strengths of a few kG. Field strengths in the hG range can result from observational effects, which explains the discrepancies presented in the literature. Our results also indicate that results from spectro-polarimetric inversions with an imposed unit filling-factor should be employed with great caution.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / magnetic fields / Sun: photosphere / Sun: magnetic fields
© ESO, 2014