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  Probing photospheric magnetic fields with new spectral line pairs

Smitha, H. N., & Solanki, S. K. (2017). Probing photospheric magnetic fields with new spectral line pairs. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 608: A111. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201731261.

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Smitha, H. N.1, 2, Author           
Solanki, Sami K.1, 2, Author           
1Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society, ou_1832289              
2ERC Advanced Grant: Solar magnetic field and its influence on solar variability and activity (SOLMAG), Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society, ou_3164813              


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 Abstract: Context. The magnetic line ratio (MLR) method has been extensively used in the measurement of photospheric magnetic field strength. It was devised for the neutral iron line pair at 5247.1 Å and 5250.2 Å (5250 Å pair). Other line pairs as well-suited as this pair have not been reported in the literature.

Aims. The aim of the present work is to identify new line pairs useful for the MLR technique and to test their reliability.

Methods. We used a three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic 3D MHD simulation representing the quiet Sun atmosphere to synthesize the Stokes profiles. Then, we applied the MLR technique to the Stokes V profiles to recover the fields in the MHD cube both at original resolution and after degrading with a point spread function. In both these cases, we aim to empirically represent the field strengths returned by the MLR method in terms of the field strengths in the MHD cube.

Results. We have identified two new line pairs that are very well adapted to be used for MLR measurements. The first pair is in the visible, Fe i 6820–6842 Å, whose intensity profiles have previously been used to measure stellar magnetic fields, and the other pair is in the infrared (IR), Fe i 15 534–15 542 Å. The lines in these pairs reproduce the magnetic fields in the MHD cube rather well and, in fact, somewhat better than the original 5250 Å pair.

Conclusions. The newly identified line pairs complement the old pairs. The lines in the new IR pair, because of their higher Zeeman sensitivity, are ideal for the measurement of weak fields. The new visible pair works best above 300 G. The new IR pair, due to its large Stokes V signal samples more fields in the MHD cube than the old IR pair at 1.56 μm, even in the presence of noise, and hence likely also on the real Sun. Owing to their low formation heights (100–200 km above τ5000 = 1), both the new line pairs are well suited for probing magnetic fields in the lower photosphere.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2018-01-122017
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201731261
 Degree: -



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Project information

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Project name : ERC-2015-AdG - SOLMAG
Grant ID : 695075
Funding program : Horizon 2020 (H2020)
Funding organization : European Commission (EC)

Source 1

Title: Astronomy and Astrophysics
  Other : Astron. Astrophys.
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Berlin : Springer-Verlag
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 608 Sequence Number: A111 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0004-6361
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954922828219_1