Volume 563, March 2014
|Number of page(s)||14|
|Published online||18 March 2014|
Horizontal flow fields observed in Hinode G-band images
IV. Statistical properties of the dynamical environment around pores
1 Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), an der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Max-Planck-Straße 2, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
Received: 12 August 2013
Accepted: 16 January 2014
Context. Solar pores are penumbra-lacking magnetic features, that mark two important transitions in the spectrum of magnetohydrodynamic processes: (1) the magnetic field becomes sufficiently strong to suppress the convective energy transport and (2) at some critical point some pores develop a penumbra and become sunspots.
Aims. The purpose of this statistical study is to comprehensively describe solar pores in terms of their size, perimeter, shape, photometric properties, and horizontal proper motions. The seeing-free and uniform data of the Japanese Hinode mission provide an opportunity to compare flow fields in the vicinity of pores in different environments and at various stages of their evolution.
Methods. The extensive database of high-resolution G-band images observed with the Hinode Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) is a unique resource to derive statistical properties of pores using advanced digital image processing techniques. The study is based on two data sets: (1) photometric and morphological properties inferred from single G-band images cover almost seven years from 2006 October 25 to 2013 August 31; and (2) horizontal flow fields derived from 356 one-hour sequences of G-band images using local correlation tracking (LCT) for a shorter period of time from 2006 November 3 to 2008 January 6 comprising 13 active regions.
Results. A total of 7643/2863 (single/time-averaged) pores builds the foundation of the statistical analysis. Pores are preferentially observed at low latitudes in the southern hemisphere during the deep minimum of solar cycle No. 23. This imbalance reverses during the rise of cycle No. 24, when the pores migrate from high to low latitudes. Pores are rarely encountered in quiet-Sun G-band images, and only about 10% of pores exist in isolation. In general, pores do not exhibit a circular shape. Typical aspect ratios of the semi-major and -minor axes are 3:2 when ellipses are fitted to pores. Smaller pores (more than two-thirds are smaller than 5 Mm2) tend to be more circular, and their boundaries are less corrugated. Both the area and perimeter length of pores obey log-normal frequency distributions. The frequency distribution of the intensity can be reproduced by two Gaussians representing dark and bright components. Bright features resembling umbral dots and even light bridges cover about 20% of the pores’ area. Averaged radial profiles show a peak in the intensity at normalized radius RN = r/Rpore = 2.1, followed by maxima of the divergence at RN = 2.3 and the radial component of the horizontal velocity at RN = 4.6. The divergence is negative within pores strongly suggesting converging flows towards the center of pores, whereas exterior flows are directed towards neighboring supergranular boundaries. The photometric radius of pores, where the intensity reaches quiet-Sun levels at RN = 1.4, corresponds to the position where the divergence is zero at RN = 1.6.
Conclusions. Morphological and photometric properties as well as horizontal flow fields have been obtained for a statistically meaningful sample of pores. This provides critical boundary conditions for MHD simulations of magnetic flux concentrations, which eventually evolve into sunspots or just simply erode and fade away. Numerical models of pores (and sunspots) have to fit within these confines, and more importantly ensembles of pores have to agree with the frequency distributions of observed parameters.
Key words: Sun: activity / Sun: photosphere / sunspots / methods: data analysis / methods: statistical / techniques: image processing
© ESO, 2014
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