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  How faculae and network relate to sunspots, and the implications for solar and stellar brightness variations

Yeo, K. L., Solanki, S. K., & Krivova, N. A. (2020). How faculae and network relate to sunspots, and the implications for solar and stellar brightness variations. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 639: A139. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/202037739.

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Yeo, Kok Leng1, Author           
Solanki, Sami K.1, Author           
Krivova, Natalie A.1, Author           
1Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society, ou_1832289              


Free keywords: Sun: activity / Sun: faculae / plages / Sun: magnetic fields / sunspots
 Abstract: Context. How global faculae and network coverage relates to that of sunspots is relevant to the brightness variations of the Sun and Sun-like stars.

Aims. We aim to extend and improve on earlier studies that established that the facular-to-sunspot-area ratio diminishes with total sunspot coverage.

Methods. Chromospheric indices and the total magnetic flux enclosed in network and faculae, referred to here as “facular indices”, are modulated by the amount of facular and network present. We probed the relationship between various facular and sunspot indices through an empirical model, taking into account how active regions evolve and the possible non-linear relationship between plage emission, facular magnetic flux, and sunspot area. This model was incorporated into a model of total solar irradiance (TSI) to elucidate the implications for solar and stellar brightness variations.

Results. The reconstruction of the facular indices from the sunspot indices with the model presented here replicates most of the observed variability, and is better at doing so than earlier models. Contrary to recent studies, we found the relationship between the facular and sunspot indices to be stable over the past four decades. The model indicates that, like the facular-to-sunspot-area ratio, the ratio of the variation in chromospheric emission and total network and facular magnetic flux to sunspot area decreases with the latter. The TSI model indicates the ratio of the TSI excess from faculae and network to the deficit from sunspots also declines with sunspot area, with the consequence being that TSI rises with sunspot area more slowly than if the two quantities were linearly proportional to one another. This explains why even though solar cycle 23 is significantly weaker than cycle 22, TSI rose to comparable levels over both cycles. The extrapolation of the TSI model to higher activity levels indicates that in the activity range where Sun-like stars are observed to switch from growing brighter with increasing activity to becoming dimmer instead, the activity-dependence of TSI exhibits a similar transition. This happens as sunspot darkening starts to rise more rapidly with activity than facular and network brightening. This bolsters the interpretation of this behaviour of Sun-like stars as the transition from a faculae-dominated to a spot-dominated regime.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2020
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202037739
 Degree: -



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Source 1

Title: Astronomy and Astrophysics
  Other : Astron. Astrophys.
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Les Ulis Cedex A France : EDP Sciences
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 639 Sequence Number: A139 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1432-0746
ISSN: 0004-6361
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954922828219_1