Volume 620, December 2018
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Published online||05 December 2018|
Magnetic properties of a long-lived sunspot
Vertical magnetic field at the umbral boundary⋆
Kiepenheuer Institut für Sonnenphysik (KIS), Schöneckstr. 6, 79104
Freiburg i.Br., Germany
Accepted: 5 October 2018
Context. In a recent statistical study of sunspots in 79 active regions, the vertical magnetic field component Bver averaged along the umbral boundary is found to be independent of sunspot size. The authors of that study conclude that the absolute value of Bver at the umbral boundary is the same for all spots.
Aims. We investigate the temporal evolution of Bver averaged along the umbral boundary of one long-lived sunspot during its stable phase.
Methods. We analysed data from the HMI instrument on-board SDO. Contours of continuum intensity at Ic = 0.5Iqs, whereby Iqs refers to the average over the quiet sun areas, are used to extract the magnetic field along the umbral boundary. Projection effects due to different formation heights of the Fe I 617.3 nm line and continuum are taken into account. To avoid limb artefacts, the spot is only analysed for heliocentric angles smaller than 60°.
Results. During the first disc passage, NOAA AR 11591, Bver remains constant at 1693 G with a root-mean-square deviation of 15 G, whereas the magnetic field strength varies substantially (mean 2171 G, rms of 48 G) and shows a long term variation. Compensating for formation height has little influence on the mean value along each contour, but reduces the variations along the contour when away from disc centre, yielding a better match between the contours of Bver = 1693 G and Ic = 0.5Iqs.
Conclusions. During the disc passage of a stable sunspot, its umbral boundary can equivalently be defined by using the continuum intensity Ic or the vertical magnetic field component Bver. Contours of fixed magnetic field strength fail to outline the umbral boundary.
Key words: sunspots / Sun: magnetic fields / Sun: photosphere / Sun: activity
Movies associated with Figs. 3 and 5 are available at https://www.aanda.org
© ESO 2018
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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