Magnetic balltracking: Tracking the photospheric magnetic flux⋆
Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Received: 7 July 2014
Accepted: 16 December 2014
Context. One aspect of understanding the dynamics of the quiet Sun is to quantify the evolution of the flux within small-scale magnetic features. These features are routinely observed in the quiet photosphere and were given various names, such as pores, knots, magnetic patches.
Aims. This work presents a new algorithm for tracking the evolution of the broad variety of small-scale magnetic features in the photosphere, with a precision equal to the instrumental resolution.
Methods. We have developed a new technique to track the evolution of the individual magnetic features from magnetograms, called “magnetic balltracking”. It quantifies the flux of the tracked features, and it can track the footpoints of magnetic field lines inferred from magnetic field extrapolation. The algorithm can detect and quantify flux emergence, as well as flux cancellation.
Results. The capabilities of magnetic balltracking are demonstrated with the detection and the tracking of two cases of magnetic flux emergence that lead to the brightening of X-ray loops. The maximum emerged flux ranges from 1018 Mx to 1019 Mx (unsigned flux) when the X-ray loops are observed.
Key words: Sun: photosphere / Sun: magnetic fields
Movies associated to Figs. 6 and 18 are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
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