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Waves as the source of apparent twisting motions in sunspot penumbrae  [PDF]
L. Bharti,R. H. Cameron,M. Rempel,J. Hirzberger,S. K. Solanki
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/752/2/128
Abstract: The motion of dark striations across bright filaments in a sunspot penumbra has become an important new diagnostic of convective gas flows in penumbral filaments. The nature of these striations has, however, remained unclear. Here we present an analysis of small scale motions in penumbral filaments in both simulations and observations. The simulations, when viewed from above, show fine structure with dark lanes running outwards from the dark core of the penumbral filaments. The dark lanes either occur preferentially on one side or alternate between both sides of the filament. We identify this fine structure with transverse (kink) oscillations of the filament, corresponding to a sideways swaying of the filament. These oscillations have periods in the range of 5-7 min and propagate outward and downward along the filament. Similar features are found in observed G-band intensity time series of penumbral filaments in a sunspot located near disk center obtained by the Broadband Filter Imager (BFI) on board {\it Hinode}. We also find that some filaments show dark striations moving to both sides of the filaments. Based on the agreement between simulations and observations we conclude that the motions of these striations are caused by transverse oscillations of the underlying bright filaments.
Explanation of the sea-serpent magnetic structure of sunspot penumbrae  [PDF]
I. N. Kitiashvili,L. R. Bellot Rubio,A. G. Kosovichev,N. N. Mansour,A. Sainz Dalda,A. A. Wray
Physics , 2010, DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/716/2/L181
Abstract: Recent spectro-polarimetric observations of a sunspot showed the formation of bipolar magnetic patches in the mid penumbra and their propagation toward the outer penumbral boundary. The observations were interpreted as being caused by sea-serpent magnetic fields near the solar surface (Sainz Dalda & Bellot Rubio 2008). In this Letter, we develop a 3D radiative MHD numerical model to explain the sea-serpent structure and the wave-like behavior of the penumbral magnetic field lines. The simulations reproduce the observed behavior, suggesting that the sea-serpent phenomenon is a consequence of magnetoconvection in a strongly inclined magnetic field. It involves several physical processes: filamentary structurization, high-speed overturning convective motions in strong, almost horizontal magnetic fields with partially frozen field lines, and traveling convective waves. The results demonstrate a correlation of the bipolar magnetic patches with high-speed Evershed downflows in the penumbra. This is the first time that a 3D numerical model of the penumbra results in downward directed magnetic fields, an essential ingredient of sunspot penumbrae that has eluded explanation until now.
Peripheral downflows in sunspot penumbrae  [PDF]
Michiel van Noort,Andreas Lagg,Sanjiv Tiwari,Sami Solanki
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201321073
Abstract: Sunspot penumbrae show high-velocity patches along the periphery. The high-velocity downflow patches are believed to be the return channels of the Evershed flow. We aim to investigate their structure in detail using Hinode SOT/SP observations. We employ Fourier interpolation in combination with spatially coupled height dependent LTE inversions of Stokes profiles to produce high-resolution, height-dependent maps of atmospheric parameters of these downflows and investigate their properties. High-speed downflows are observed over a wide range of viewing angles. They have supersonic line-of-sight velocities, some in excess of 20km/s, and very high magnetic field strengths, reaching values of over 7 kG. A relation between the downflow velocities and the magnetic field strength is found, in good agreement with MHD simulations. The coupled inversion at high resolution allows for the accurate determination of small-scale structures. The recovered atmospheric structure indicates that regions with very high downflow velocities contain some of the strongest magnetic fields that have ever been measured on the Sun.
Can overturning motions in penumbral filaments be detected?  [PDF]
Lokesh Bharti,Manfred Schuessler,Matthias Rempel
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/739/1/35
Abstract: Numerical simulations indicate that the filamentation of sunspot penumbrae and the associated systematic outflow (the Evershed effect) are due to convectively driven fluid motions constrained by the inclined magnetic field. We investigate whether these motions, in particular the upflows in the bright filaments and the downflows at their edges can be reliably observed with existing instrumentation. We use a snapshot from a sunspot simulation to calculate 2D maps of synthetic line profiles for the spectral lines Fe\sci 7090.4 \AA ~ and C\sci 5380.34 \AA. The maps are spatially and spectrally degraded according to typical instrument properties. Line-of-sight velocities are determined from line bisector shifts. We find that the detectability of the convective flows is strongly affected by spatial smearing, particularly so for the downflows. Furthermore, the line-of-sight velocities are dominated by the Evershed flow unless the observation is made very near to disk center. These problems may have compromised recent attempts to detect overturning penumbral convection. Lines with a low formation height are best suited to detect the convective flows.
Evidence for convection in Sunspot penumbrae  [PDF]
Lokesh Bharti,Sami K. Solanki,Johann Hirzberger
Physics , 2010, DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/722/2/L194
Abstract: We present an analysis of twisting motions in penumbral filaments in sunspots located at heliocentric angles from $30^\circ$ to $48^\circ$ using three time series of blue continuum images obtained by the Broadband Filter Imager (BFI) onboard {\it Hinode}. The relations of the twisting motions to the filament brightness and the position within the filament and within the penumbra, respectively, are investigated. Only certain portions of the filaments show twisting motions. In a statistical sense, the part of the twisting portion of a filament located closest to the umbra is brightest and possesses the fastest twisting motion, with a mean twisting velocity of 2.1\,km\,s$^{-1}$. The middle and outer sections of the twisting portion of the filament (lying increasingly further from the umbra), which are less bright, have mean velocities of 1.7\,km\,s$^{-1}$ and 1.35\,km\,s$^{-1}$, respectively. The observed reduction of brightness and twisting velocity towards the outer section of the filaments may be due to reducing upflow along the filament's long axis. No significant variation of twisting velocity as a function of viewing angles was found. The obtained correlation of brightness and velocity suggests that overturning convection causes the twisting motions observed in penumbral filament and may be the source of the energy needed to maintain the brightness of the filaments.
A Curious History of Sunspot Penumbrae  [PDF]
D. H. Hathaway
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1007/s11207-013-0291-y
Abstract: Daily records of sunspot group areas compiled by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, from May of 1874 through 1976 indicate a curious history for the penumbral areas of the smaller sunspot groups. On average, the ratio of penumbral area to umbral area in a sunspot group increases from 5 to 6 as the total sunspot group area increases from 100 to 2000 microHem (a microHem is a millionth the area of a solar hemisphere). This relationship does not vary substantially with sunspot group latitude or with the phase of the sunspot cycle. However, for the sunspot groups with total areas <100 microHem, this ratio changes dramatically and systematically through this historical record. The ratio for these smallest sunspots is near 5.5 from 1874 to 1900. After a rapid rise to more than 7 in 1905 it drops smoothly to less than 3 by 1930 and then rises smoothly back to more than 7 in 1961. It then returns to near 5.5 from 1965 to 1976. The smooth variation from 1905 to 1961 shows no indication of any step-like changes that might be attributed to changes in equipment or personnel. The overall level of solar activity was increasing monotonically during this time period when the penumbra-to-umbra area ratio dropped to less than half its peak value and then returned. If this history can be confirmed by other observations (e.g., Mt. Wilson or Kodaikanal) it may impact our understanding of penumbra formation, our dynamo models, and our estimates of historical changes in the solar irradiance.
Returning magnetic flux in sunspot penumbrae  [PDF]
B. Ruiz Cobo,A. Asensio Ramos
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201220373
Abstract: We study the presence of reversed polarity magnetic flux in sunspot penumbra. We applied a new regularized method to deconvolve spectropolarimetric data observed with the spectropolarimeter SP onboard Hinode. The new regularization is based on a principal component decomposition of the Stokes profiles. The resulting Stokes profiles were inverted to infer the magnetic field vector using SIR. We find, for the first time, reversed polarity fields at the border of many bright penumbral filaments in the whole penumbra.
Convective Nature of Sunspot Penumbral Filaments: Discovery of Downflows in the Deep Photosphere  [PDF]
Jayant Joshi,A. Pietarila,J. Hirzberger,S. K. Solanki,R. Aznar Cuadrado,L. Merenda
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/734/1/L18
Abstract: We study the velocity structure of penumbral filaments in the deep photosphere to obtain direct evidence for the convective nature of sunspot penumbrae. A sunspot was observed at high spatial resolution with the 1-m Swedish Solar Telescope in the deep photospheric C I 5380 {\AA} absorption line. The Multi-Object Multi-Frame Blind Deconvolution (MOMFBD) method is used for image restoration and straylight is filtered out. We report here the discovery of clear redshifts in the C I 5380 {\AA} line at multiple locations in sunspot penumbral filaments. For example, bright head of filaments show larger concentrated blueshift and are surrounded by darker, redshifted regions, suggestive of overturning convection. Elongated downflow lanes are also located beside bright penumbral fibrils. Our results provide the strongest evidence yet for the presence of overturning convection in penumbral filaments and highlight the need to observe the deepest layers of the penumbra in order to uncover the energy transport processes taking place there.
Spectral Analysis of Sunspot Penumbrae Observed with HINODE  [PDF]
Morten Franz,Rolf Schlichenmaier
Physics , 2010,
Abstract: To investigate the penumbral plasma flow on a small scale, spectropolari- metric data of sunspots recorded by HINODE was used. Maps of Doppler velocities were created by evaluating the bisector in the line-wing, thereby visualizing the flow pattern in the low photosphere where the Evershed effect is most pronounced. In penumbrae close to the disk center, the vertical component of the Evershed flow dominates. The latter consists of a series of elongated up-flow patterns extending radially through the entire center-side penumbra at a constant azimuth. Along this structure, strong up-flows appear in concentrated patches separated by weaker up-flows or even down-flows. The strong up-flows appear at the bright heads and the umbral side of the dark-core of the filament, while the down-flows are rather located at the penumbral side of the filament. Projection effects lead to an overall red-shift of the limb- side penumbra, but the described pattern of up- and down-flows is still ascertainable.
A new type of small-scale downflow patches in sunspot penumbrae  [PDF]
Y. Katsukawa,J. Jurcak
Physics , 2010, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200913898
Abstract: A sunspot penumbra is observationally examined to reveal properties of small-scale flow structures and how they are related to the filamentary magnetic structures and the Evershed flow. We also study how the photospheric dynamics is related to chromospheric activities. The study is based on data analysis of spectro-polarimetric observations of photospheric Fe I lines with the Solar Optical Telescope aboard Hinode in a sunspot penumbra at different heliocentric angles. Vector magnetic fields and velocities are derived using the spectro-polarimetric data and a Stokes inversion technique. An observation with a Ca II H filtergram co-spatial and co-temporal with the spectro-polarimetric one is also used to study possible chromospheric responses. We find small patches with downflows at photospheric layers. The downflow patches have a size of 0.5" or smaller and have a geometrical configuration different from that of the Evershed flow. The downflow velocity is about 1 km/s at lower photspheric layers, and is almost zero in the upper layers. Some of the downflow patches are associated with brightenings seen in Ca II H images. The downflows are possible observational signatures of downward flows driven by magnetic reconnection in the interlaced magnetic field configuration, where upward flows make brightenings in the chromosphere. Another possibility is that they are concentrated downward flows of overturning magnetoconvection.
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