Volume 652, August 2021
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||The Sun and the Heliosphere|
|Published online||02 August 2021|
On the size distribution of spots within sunspot groups
Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
2 School of Space Research, Kyung Hee University, 446-701 Yongin, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea
Accepted: 7 April 2021
The size distribution of sunspots provides key information about the generation and emergence processes of the solar magnetic field. Previous studies of size distribution have primarily focused on either the whole group or individual spot areas. In this paper we investigate the organisation of spot areas within sunspot groups. In particular, we analysed the ratio (R) of the area of the biggest spot (Abig_spot) inside a group, to the total area of that group (Agroup). We used sunspot observations from Kislovodsk, Pulkovo, and Debrecen observatories, together covering solar cycles 17–24. We find that at the time when the group area reaches its maximum, the single biggest spot in a group typically occupies about 60% of the group area. For half of all groups, R lies in the range between roughly 50% and 70%. We also find R to change with Agroup, such that R reaches a maximum of about 0.65 for groups with Agroup ≈ 200 μHem and then remains at about 0.6 for larger groups. Our findings imply a scale-invariant emergence pattern, providing an observational constraint on the emergence process. Furthermore, extrapolation of our results to larger sunspot groups may have a bearing on the giant unresolved starspot features found in Doppler images of highly active Sun-like stars. Our results suggest that such giant features are composed of multiple spots, with the largest spot occupying roughly 55–75% of the total group area (i.e., the area of the giant starspots seen in Doppler images).
Key words: Sun: magnetic fields / sunspots / Sun: photosphere / Sun: activity
© S. Mandal et al. 2021
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Open Access funding provided by Max Planck Society.
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