High-resolution millimeter-interferometer observations of the solar chromosphere
Astronomy Department, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Astronomical Institute, St. Petersburg University, 198504 St. Petersburg, Russia
3 Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
Accepted: 28 April 2006
The use of millimeter-interferometer data for the study of chromospheric structure and dynamics is tested using 85 GHz observations with the 10-element Berkeley-Illinois-Maryland Array (BIMA). Interferometer data have the advantage over single-dish data that they allow both high spatial resolution and dense temporal sampling simultaneously. However, snapshot imaging of the quiet solar atmosphere with a small number of dishes is challenging. We demonstrate that techniques are available to carry out this task successfully using maximum entropy deconvolution from a default image constructed from the entire observation: one of our results is that the solar chromosphere at millimeter wavelengths exhibits features that are long-lasting and the map of the entire observation is significant provided that atmospheric phase errors do not prevent deconvolution. We compare observations of quiet Sun, active region and coronal hole targets. The interferometer is not sensitive to the disk emission and the positivity constraint of the maximum entropy algorithm used forces the zero level in the images to be at the temperature of the coolest feature in each field. The brightest features in the images are typically 1000–1500 K above the zero level, with a snapshot noise level of order 100 K. We use extensive tests to determine whether oscillation power can be recovered from sequences of snapshot images and show that individual sources can be down to quite weak levels at locations in the image where significant flux is present; oscillation power located in cool regions of the image is not well recovered due to the deconvolution method used and may be redistributed to brighter regions of the millimeter image. We then investigate whether the data do show oscillation power using uninterrupted 30-min scans of the target regions. Intensity oscillations with significant power in the frequency range 1.5–8.0 mHz are found in the quiet-Sun and active region targets. For the quiet-Sun region we compare the oscillation properties of network boundaries and cell interiors (internetwork) in the spatially-resolved time series. In agreement with investigations at other wavelengths, in the millimeter data the power in the network tends to be at periods of 5 min and longer while power in the internetwork is present also at shorter (3-min) periods.
Key words: Sun: chromosphere / Sun: radio radiation
© ESO, 2006