Spicules are an important very dynamical and rather cool structure extending between the solar surface and the corona. They are partly filling the space inside the chromosphere and they are surrounded by a transition thin layer. New space observations taken with the SOT of the Hinode mission shed some light on their still mysterious formation and dynamics. Here we restrict the analysis to the most radial and the most interesting polar spicules situated at the base of the fast solar wind of coronal holes.We consider a first important parameter of spicules as observed above the solar visible limb: their apparent diameter as a function of the height above the limb which determines their aspect ratio and leads to the discussion of their magnetic origin using the flux tube approximation. We found that indeed spicules show a whole range of diameters, including unresolved "interacting spicules" (I-S), depending of the definition chosen to characterize this ubiquitous dynamical phenomenon occurring into a low coronal surrounding. Superposition effects along the line of sight have to be taken into account in order to correctly measure individual spicules and look at I-S. We take advantage of the so-called Madmax operator to reduce these effects and improve the visibility of these hair-like features. An excellent time sequence of images obtained above a polar region with the Hinode SOT through the HCaII filter with a cadence of 8 s was selected for analysis. 1-D Fourier amplitude spectra (AS) made at different heights above the limb are shown for the first time. A definite signature in the 0.18 to 0.25 Mm range exists, corresponding to the occurrence of the newly discovered
Ly α and Ly β line profiles in a solar prominence were observed with high spatial and spectral resolution with SOHO/SUMER. Within a 60-arcsec scan, we measure a very large variety of profiles: not only reversed and nonreversed profiles but also red-peaked and blue-peaked ones in both lines. Such a spatial variability is probably related to both the fine structure in prominences and the different orientations of mass motions. The usage of integrated-intensity cuts along the SUMER slit allowed us to categorize the prominence in three regions. We computed average profiles and integrated intensities in these lines in the range 2.36 -42.3 W m −2 sr −1 for Ly α and 0.027 -0.237 W m −2 sr −1 for Ly β. As shown by theoretical modeling, the Ly α/Ly β ratio is very sensitive to geometrical and thermodynamic properties of fine structure in prominences. For some pixels, and in both lines, we found agreement between observed intensities and those predicted by one-dimensional models. But a close examination of the profiles indicated a rather systematic disagreement concerning their detailed shapes. The disagreement between observations and thread models (with ambipolar diffusion) leads us to speculate about the importance of the temperature gradient between the cool and coronal regions. This gradient could depend on the orientation of field lines as proposed by Heinzel, Anzer, and Gunár (Astron. Astrophys. 442, 331, 2005).
Irradiance variability has been monitored from space for more than two decades. Even if data are coming from different sources, it is well established that a temporal variability exists which can be set to as ≈ 0.1%, in phase with the solar cycle. Today, one of the best explanation for such an irradiance variability is provided by the evolution of the solar surface magnetic fields. But if some 90 to 95% can be reproduced, what would be the origin of the 10 to 5% left? Non magnetic effects are conceivable. In this paper we will consider temporal variations of the diameter of the Sun as a possible contributor for the remaining part. Such an approach imposes strong constraints on the solar radius variability. We will show that over a solar cycle, variations of no more than 20 mas of amplitude can be considered. Such a variability -far from what is reported by observers conducting measurements by means of ground-based solar astrolabes-may explain a little part of the irradiance changes not explained by magnetic features. Further requirements are needed that may help to reach a conclusion. Dedicated space missions are necessary (for example PICARD, GOLF-NG or SDO, scheduled for a launch around 2008); it is also proposed to reactivate SDS flights for such a purpose.
Context. For investigating spicules from the photosphere to coronal heights, the new Hinode/SOT long series of high-resolution observations from space taken in CaII H line emission offers an improved way to look at their remarkable dynamical behavior using images free of seeing effects. They should be put in the context of the huge amount of already accumulated material from groundbased instruments, including high-resolution spectra of off-limb spicules. Aims. Both the origin of the phenomenon and the significance of dynamical spicules for the heating above the top of the photosphere and the fuelling of the chromospheric and the transition region need more investigation, including of the possible role of the associated magnetic waves for the corona higher up. Methods. We analyze in great detail the proper transverse motions of mature and tall polar region spicules for different heights, assuming that there might be Helical-Kink waves or Alfvénic waves propagating inside their multicomponent substructure, by interpreting the quasi-coherent behavior of all visible components presumably confined by a surrounding magnetic envelop. We concentrate the analysis on the taller CaII spicules more relevant for coronal heights and easier to measure. Two-dimensional velocity maps of proper motion were computed for the first time using a correlation tracking technique based on FFTs and cross-correlation function with a 2nd-order-accuracy Taylor expansion. Highly processed images with the popular mad-max algorithm were first prepared to perform this analysis. The locations of the peak of the cross-correlation function were obtained with subpixel accuracy. Results. The surge-like behavior of solar polar region spicules supports the untwisting multicomponent interpretation of spicules exhibiting helical dynamics. Several tall spicules are found with (i) upward and downward flows that are similar at lower and middle levels, the rate of upward motion being slightly higher at high levels; (ii) the left-and righthand velocities are also increasing with height; (iii) a large number of multicomponent spicules show shearing motion of both left-and righthanded senses occurring simultaneously, which might be understood as twisting (or untwisting) threads. The number of turns depends on the overall diameter of the structure made of components and changes from at least one turn for the smallest structure to at most two or three turns for surge-like broad structures. The curvature along the spicule corresponds to a low turn number similar to a transverse kink mode oscillation along the threads.
Due to non-homogeneous mass distribution and non-uniform velocity rate inside the Sun, the solar outer shape is distorted in latitude. In this paper, we analyze the consequences of a temporal change in this figure on the luminosity. To do so, we use the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) as an indicator of luminosity. Considering that most of the authors have explained the largest part of the TSI modulation with magnetic network (spots and faculae) but not the whole, we could set constraints on radius and effective temperature variations (dR, dT). However computations show that the amplitude of solar irradiance modulation is very sensitive to photospheric temperature variations. In order to understand discrepancies between our best fit and recent observations of Livingston et al. (2005), showing no effective surface temperature variation during the solar cycle, we investigated small effective temperature variation in irradiance modeling. We emphasized a phase-shift (correlated or anticorrelated radius and irradiance variations) in the (dR, dT)-parameter plane. We further obtained an upper limit on the amplitude of cyclic solar radius variations, deduced from the gravitational energy variations. Our estimate is consistent with both observations of the helioseismic radius through the analysis of f-mode frequencies and observations of the basal photospheric temperature at Kitt Peak. Finally, we suggest a mechanism to explain faint changes in the solar shape due to variation of magnetic pressure which modifies the granules size. This mechanism is supported by our estimate of the asphericity-luminosity parameter, which implies an effectiveness of convective heat transfer only in very outer layers of the Sun.Comment: 17 pages, 2 figure, 1 table, published in New Astronom
We present a detailed analysis of absorption systems along the line of sight towards QSO PKS 0237−233 using a high resolution spectrum of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) ∼60-80 obtained with the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph mounted on the Very Large Telescope. This line of sight is known to show a remarkable overdensity of C iv systems that has been interpreted as revealing the presence of a supercluster of galaxies. A detailed analysis of each of these absorption systems is presented. In particular, for the z abs = 1.6359 (with two components of log N HI [ cm −2 ] =18.45, 19.05) and z abs = 1.6720 (log N HI = 19.78) sub-Damped Lyα systems (sub-DLAs), we measure accurate abundances (resp. [O/H] = −1.63±0.07 and [Zn/H] = −0.57±0.05 relative to solar). While the depletion of refractory elements onto dust grains in both sub-DLAs is not noteworthy, photoionization models show that ionization effects are important in a part of the absorbing gas of the sub-DLA at z abs = 1.6359 (H i is 95 percent ionized) and in part of the gas of the sub-DLA at z abs = 1.6359 The C iv clustering properties along the line of sight is studied in order to investigate the nature of the observed overdensity. We conclude that despite the unusually high number of C iv systems detected along the line of sight, there is no compelling evidence for the presence of a single unusual overdensity and that the situation is consistent with chance coincidence.
Transversal oscillations of spicules axes may be related to the propagation of magnetohydrodynamic waves along them. These waves may become unstable and the instability can be of the Kelvin-Helmholtz type. We use the dispersion relation of kink mode derived from linearized magnetohydrodynamic equations. The input parameters of the derived dispersion equation, namely, spicules and their ambient medium densities ratios as well as their corresponding magnetic fields ratios, are considered to be within the range 0 − 1. By solving the dispersion equation numerically, we show that for higher densities and lower magnetic fields ratios within the range mentioned, the KHI onset in type ii spicules conditions is possible. This possibility decreases with an increase in Alfvén velocity inside spicules. A rough criterion for appearing of Kelvin-Helmholtz instability is obtained. We also drive a more reliable and exact criterion for KHI onset of kink waves.
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