Volume 616, August 2018
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Published online||21 August 2018|
Solar radius determined from PICARD/SODISM observations and extremely weak wavelength dependence in the visible and the near-infrared
Université Paris Saclay, Sorbonne Université, UVSQ, CNRS, LATMOS, 11 Boulevard d’Alembert, 78280 Guyancourt, France
2 Université de la Côte d’Azur, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur (OCA), CNRS, Boulevard de l’Observatoire, 06304 Nice, France
Accepted: 9 May 2018
Context. In 2015, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) passed Resolution B3, which defined a set of nominal conversion constants for stellar and planetary astronomy. Resolution B3 defined a new value of the nominal solar radius (R⊙N = 695 700 km km) that is different from the canonical value used until now (695 990 km). The nominal solar radius is consistent with helioseismic estimates. Recent results obtained from ground-based instruments, balloon flights, or space-based instruments highlight solar radius values that are significantly different. These results are related to the direct measurements of the photospheric solar radius, which are mainly based on the inflection point position methods. The discrepancy between the seismic radius and the photospheric solar radius can be explained by the difference between the height at disk center and the inflection point of the intensity profile on the solar limb. At 535.7 nm (photosphere), there may be a difference of ∼330 km between the two definitions of the solar radius.
Aims. The main objective of this work is to present new results of the solar radius in the near-ultraviolet, the visible, and the near-infrared from PICARD space-based and ground-based observations. Simulations show the strong influence of atmosphere effects (refraction and turbulence) on ground-based solar radius determinations and highlight the interest of space-based solar radius determinations, particularly during planet transits (Venus or Mercury), in order to obtain more realistic and accurate measurements.
Methods. Solar radius observations during the 2012 Venus transit have been made with the SOlar Diameter Imager and Surface Mapper (SODISM) telescope on board the PICARD spacecraft. We used the transit of Venus as an absolute calibration to determine the solar radius accurately at several wavelengths. Our results are based on the determination of the inflection point position of the solar limb-darkening function (the most common solar radius definition). A realistic uncertainty budget is provided for each solar radius obtained with the PICARD space-based telescope during the 2012 Venus transit. The uncertainty budget considers several sources of error (detection of the centers of Venus and Sun in PICARD images, positions of Sun and Venus from ephemeris (planetary theory), PICARD on-board timing, PICARD spacecraft position, and optical distortion correction from PICARD images).
Results. We obtain new values of the solar radius from the PICARD mission at several wavelengths and in different solar atmosphere regions. The PICARD spacecraft with its SODISM telescope was used to measure the radius of the Sun during the Venus transit in 2012. At 535.7 nm, the solar radius is equal to 696 134 ± 261 km (combined standard uncertainty based (ξ) on the uncertainty budget). At 607.1 nm, the solar radius is equal to 696 156 ± 145 km (ξ), and the standard deviation of the solar radius mean value is ±22 km. At 782.2 nm, the solar radius is equal to 696 192 ± 247 km (ξ). The PICARD space-based results as well as PICARD ground-based results show that the solar radius wavelength dependence in the visible and the near-infrared is extremely weak. The differences in inflection point position of the solar radius at 607.1 nm, 782.2 nm, and 1025.0 nm from a reference at 535.7 nm are less than 60 km for the different PICARD measurements.
Key words: Sun: general / Sun: fundamental parameters / telescopes
© ESO 2018
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