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The magnetic fine structure of the Sun’s polar region as revealed by Sunrise

MPS-Authors

Prabhu,  A.
Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Lagg,  Andreas
Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society;

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Hirzberger,  Johann
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;

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Citation

Prabhu, A., Lagg, A., Hirzberger, J., & Solanki, S. K. (2020). The magnetic fine structure of the Sun’s polar region as revealed by Sunrise. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 644: A86. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/202038704.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-A835-0
Abstract
Context. Polar magnetic fields play a key role in the solar magnetic cycle and they are the source of a significant portion of the interplanetary magnetic field. However, observations of the poles are challenging and hence our understanding of the polar magnetic environment is incomplete. Aims. We deduce properties of small-scale magnetic features in the polar region using high-resolution data and specifically aim to determine the flux per patch above which one magnetic polarity starts to dominate over the other. Methods. We study the high spatial resolution, seeing-free observations of the north solar polar region, obtained with the IMaX instrument on-board the balloon-borne SUNRISE observatory during June 2009, at the solar activity minimum. We performed inversions of the full Stokes vector recorded by IMaX to retrieve atmospheric parameters of the Sun's polar region, mainly the temperature stratification and the magnetic field vector. Results. We infer kilo-Gauss (kG) magnetic fields in patches harbouring polar faculae, without resorting to a magnetic filling factor. Within these patches we find the maxima of the magnetic field to be near the dark narrow lanes, which are shifted towards the disc centre side in comparison to the maxima in continuum intensity. In contrast, we did not find any fields parallel to the solar surface with kG strengths. In addition to the kG patches, we found the polar region to be covered in patches of both polarities, which have a range of sizes. We find the field strength of these patches to increase with increasing size and flux, with the smaller patches showing a significant dispersion in field strength. The dominating polarity of the north pole during this phase of the solar cycle is found to be maintained by the larger patches with fluxes above 2.3 × 1017 Mx.