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The potential of many-line inversions of photospheric spectropolarimetric data in the visible and near UV

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Riethmüller,  Tino
Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Solanki,  Sami K.
Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;
ERC Advanced Grant: Solar magnetic field and its influence on solar variability and activity (SOLMAG), Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Riethmüller, T., & Solanki, S. K. (2019). The potential of many-line inversions of photospheric spectropolarimetric data in the visible and near UV. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 622: A36. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201833379.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-E109-6
Abstract
Our knowledge of the lower solar atmosphere is mainly obtained from spectropolarimetric observations, which are often carried out in the red or infrared spectral range and almost always cover only a single or a few spectral lines. Here we compare the quality of Stokes inversions of only a few spectral lines with many-line inversions. In connection with this, we have also investigated the feasibility of spectropolarimetry in the short-wavelength range, 3000 Å−4300 Å, where the line density but also the photon noise are considerably higher than in the red, so that many-line inversions could be particularly attractive in that wavelength range. This is also timely because this wavelength range will be the focus of a new spectropolarimeter in the third science flight of the balloon-borne solar observatory SUNRISE. For an ensemble of state-of-the-art magneto-hydrodynamical atmospheres we synthesize exemplarily spectral regions around 3140 Å (containing 371 identified spectral lines), around 4080 Å (328 lines), and around 6302 Å (110 lines). The spectral coverage is chosen such that at a spectral resolving power of 150 000 the spectra can be recorded by a 2K × 2K detector. The synthetic Stokes profiles are degraded with a typical photon noise and afterward inverted. The atmospheric parameters of the inversion of noisy profiles are compared with the inversion of noise-free spectra. We find that significantly more information can be obtained from many-line inversions than from a traditionally used inversion of only a few spectral lines. We further find that information on the upper photosphere can be significantly more reliably obtained at short wavelengths. In the mid and lower photosphere, the many-line approach at 4080 Å provides equally good results as the many-line approach at 6302 Å for the magnetic field strength and the line-of-sight (LOS) velocity, while the temperature determination is even more precise by a factor of three. We conclude from our results that many-line spectropolarimetry should be the preferred option in the future, and in particular at short wavelengths it offers a high potential in solar physics.