Automatic solar filament detection using image processing techniques

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47 Scopus citations


We present an automatic solar filament detection algorithm based on image enhancement, segmentation, pattern recognition, and mathematical morphology methods. This algorithm cannot only detect filaments, but can also identify spines, footpoints, and filament disappearances. It consists of five steps: (1) The stabilized inverse diffusion equation (SIDE) is used to enhance and sharpen filament contours. (2) A new method for automatic threshold selection is proposed to extract filaments from local background. (3) The support vector machine (SVM) is used to differentiate between sunspots and filaments. (4) Once a filament is identified, morphological thinning, pruning, and adaptive edge linking methods are used to determine the filament properties. (5) Finally, we propose a filament matching method to detect filament disappearances. We have successfully applied the algorithm to Hα full-disk images obtained at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO). It has the potential to become the foundation of an automatic solar filament detection system, which will enhance our capabilities of forecasting and predicting geo-effective events and space weather.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-135
Number of pages17
JournalSolar Physics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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