The intensity contrast of solar photospheric faculae and network elements
II. Evolution over the rising phase of solar cycle 23
Departament d'Astronomia i Meteorologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Martí i Franquès 1, 08028 Barcelona, Spain e-mail: Blai.Sanahuja@ub.edu
2 Institut de Ciència dels Materials, Grupo de Astrofísica y Ciencias del Espacio, Universitat de València, 46071 València, Spain e-mail: Vicente.Domingo-Codonyer@uv.es
Accepted: 9 January 2006
We studied the radiative properties of small magnetic elements (active region faculae and the network) during the rising phase of solar cycle 23 from 1996 to 2001, determining their contrasts as a function of heliocentric angle, magnetogram signal, and the solar cycle phase. We combined near-simultaneous full disk images of the line-of-sight magnetic field and photospheric continuum intensity provided by the MDI instrument on board the SOHO spacecraft. Sorting the magnetogram signal into different ranges allowed us to distinguish between the contrast of different magnetic structures. We find that the contrast center-to-limb variation (CLV) of these small magnetic elements is independent of time with a 10% precision, when measured during the rising phase of solar cycle 23. A 2-dimensional empirical expression for the contrast of photospheric features as a function of both the position on the disk and the averaged magnetic field strength was determined, showing its validity through the studied time period. A study of the relationship between magnetogram signal and the peak contrasts shows that the intrinsic contrast (maximum contrast per unit of magnetic flux) of network flux tubes is higher than that of active region faculae during the solar cycle.
Key words: Sun: activity / Sun: faculae, plages / Sun: magnetic fields
© ESO, 2006