Photospheric and coronal magnetic fields in six magnetographs
I. Consistent evolution of the bashful ballerina
ReSoLVE Centre of Excellence, Space Climate research unit, University of
PO Box 3000,
e-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: 8 January 2016
Accepted: 1 April 2016
Aims. We study the long-term evolution of photospheric and coronal magnetic fields and the heliospheric current sheet (HCS), especially its north-south asymmetry. Special attention is paid to the reliability of the six data sets used in this study and to the consistency of the results based on these data sets.
Methods. We use synoptic maps constructed from Wilcox Solar Observatory (WSO), Mount Wilson Observatory (MWO), Kitt Peak (KP), SOLIS, SOHO/MDI, and SDO/HMI measurements of the photospheric field and the potential field source surface (PFSS) model.
Results. The six data sets depict a fairly similar long-term evolution of magnetic fields and the heliospheric current sheet, including polarity reversals and hemispheric asymmetry. However, there are time intervals of several years long, when first KP measurements in the 1970s and 1980s, and later WSO measurements in the 1990s and early 2000s, significantly deviate from the other simultaneous data sets, reflecting likely errors at these times. All of the six magnetographs agree on the southward shift of the heliospheric current sheet (the so-called bashful ballerina phenomenon) in the declining to minimum phase of the solar cycle during a few years of the five included cycles. We show that during solar cycles 20–22, the southward shift of the HCS is mainly due to the axial quadrupole term, reflecting the stronger magnetic field intensity at the southern pole during these times. During cycle 23 the asymmetry is less persistent and mainly due to higher harmonics than the quadrupole term. Currently, in the early declining phase of cycle 24, the HCS is also shifted southward and is mainly due to the axial quadrupole as for most earlier cycles. This further emphasizes the special character of the global solar field during cycle 23.
Key words: Sun: magnetic fields / Sun: activity / Sun: photosphere / Sun: corona
© ESO, 2016