Volume 632, December 2019
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Published online||25 November 2019|
Reconstructing solar magnetic fields from historical observations
VI. Axial dipole moments of solar active regions in cycles 21−24
ReSoLVE Centre of Excellence, Space Climate Research Unit, University of Oulu, PO Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2 National Solar Observatory, Boulder, CO 80303, USA
3 Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pulkovskoye Shosse 65, Saint Petersburg 196140, Russian Federation
Accepted: 1 October 2019
Context. The axial dipole moments of emerging active regions control the evolution of the axial dipole moment of the whole photospheric magnetic field and the strength of polar fields. Hale’s and Joy’s laws of polarity and tilt orientation affect the sign of the axial dipole moment of an active region. If both laws are valid (or both violated), the sign of the axial moment is normal. However, for some active regions, only one of the two laws is violated, and the signs of these axial dipole moments are the opposite of normal. Those opposite-sign active regions can have a significant effect, for example, on the development of polar fields.
Aims. Our aim is to determine the axial dipole moments of active regions identified from magnetographic observations and study how the axial dipole moments of normal and opposite signs are distributed in time and latitude in solar cycles 21−24.
Methods. We identified active regions in the synoptic maps of the photospheric magnetic field measured at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) Kitt Peak (KP) observatory, the Synoptic Optical Long term Investigations of the Sun (SOLIS) vector spectromagnetograph (VSM), and the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) aboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), and determined their axial dipole moments.
Results. We find that, typically, some 30% of active regions have opposite-sign axial moments in every cycle, often making more than 20% of the total axial dipole moment. Most opposite-signed moments are small, but occasional large moments, which can affect the evolution of polar fields on their own, are observed. Active regions with such a large opposite-sign moment may include only a moderate amount of total magnetic flux. We find that in cycles 21−23 the northern hemisphere activates first and shows emergence of magnetic flux over a wider latitude range, while the southern hemisphere activates later, and emergence is concentrated to lower latitudes. Cycle 24 differs from cycles 21−23 in many ways. Cycle 24 is the only cycle where the northern butterfly wing includes more active regions than the southern wing, and where axial dipole moment of normal sign emerges on average later than opposite-signed axial dipole moment. The total axial dipole moment and even the average axial moment of active regions is smaller in cycle 24 than in previous cycles.
Key words: Sun: activity / Sun: magnetic fields / Sun: photosphere
© ESO 2019
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