Volume 576, April 2015
|Number of page(s)||19|
|Published online||18 March 2015|
Properties of solar plage from a spatially coupled inversion of Hinode SP data
1 Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
2 School of Space Research, Kyung Hee University, Yongin, 446-701 Gyeonggi, Korea
Received: 12 September 2014
Accepted: 17 December 2014
Aims. The properties of magnetic fields forming an extended plage region in AR 10953 were investigated.
Methods. Stokes spectra of the Fe I line pair at 6302 Å recorded by the spectropolarimeter aboard the Hinode satellite were inverted using the SPINOR code. The code performed a 2D spatially coupled inversion on the Stokes spectra, allowing the retrieval of gradients in optical depth within the atmosphere of each pixel, whilst accounting for the effects of the instrument’s PSF. Consequently, no magnetic filling factor was needed.
Results. The inversion results reveal that plage is composed of magnetic flux concentrations (MFCs) with typical field strengths of 1520 G at log (τ) = −0.9 and inclinations of 10°−15°. The MFCs expand by forming magnetic canopies composed of weaker and more inclined magnetic fields. The expansion and average temperature stratification of isolated MFCs can be approximated well with an empirical plage thin flux tube model. The highest temperatures of MFCs are located at their edges in all log (τ) layers. Whilst the plasma inside MFCs is nearly at rest, each is surrounded by a ring of downflows of on average 2.4 km s-1 at log (τ) = 0 and peak velocities of up to 10 km s-1, which are supersonic. The downflow ring of an MFC weakens and shifts outwards with height, tracing the MFC’s expansion. Such downflow rings often harbour magnetic patches of opposite polarity to that of the main MFC with typical field strengths below 300 G at log (τ) = 0. These opposite polarity patches are situated beneath the canopy of their main MFC. We found evidence of a strong broadening of the Stokes profiles in MFCs and particularly in the downflow rings surrounding MFCs (expressed by a microturbulence in the inversion). This indicates the presence of strong unresolved velocities. Larger magnetic structures such as sunspots cause the field of nearby MFCs to be more inclined.
Key words: Sun: faculae, plages / Sun: magnetic fields / Sun: photosphere
© ESO, 2015
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