Flow field evolution of a decaying sunspot

N. A. Deng, Debi Prasad Choudhary, Alexandra Tritschler, Carsten Denker, Chang Liu, Haimin Wang

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34 Scopus citations


We study the evolution of the flows and horizontal proper motions in and around a decaying follower sunspot based on time sequences of two-dimensional spectroscopic observations in the visible and white-light imaging data obtained over 6 days from 2005 June 7 to 12. During this time period the sunspot decayed gradually to a pore. The spectroscopic observations were obtained with the Fabry-Pérot-based Visible-Light Imaging Magnetograph (VIM) in conjunction with the high-order adaptive optics (AO) system operated at the 65 cm vacuum reflector of the Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO). We apply local correlation tracking (LCT) to the speckle-reconstructed time sequences of white-light images around 600 nm to infer horizontal proper motions, while the Doppler shifts of the scanned Fe I line at 630.15 nm are used to calculate line-of-sight (LOS) velocities with subarcsecond resolution. We find that the dividing line between radial inward and outward proper motions in the inner and outer penumbra, respectively, survives the decay phase. In particular the moat flow is still detectable after the penumbra disappeared. Based on our observations, three major processes removed flux from the sunspot: (1) fragmentation of the umbra, (2) flux cancelation of moving magnetic features (MMFs; of the same polarity as the sunspot) that encounter the leading opposite polarity network and plages areas, and (3) flux transport by MMFs (of the same polarity as the sunspot) to the surrounding network and plage regions that have the same polarity as the sunspot.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1013-1021
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 10 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Instrumentation: high angular resolution
  • Instrumentation: spectrographs
  • Sun: activity
  • Sun: photosphere
  • Sunspots
  • Techniques: spectroscopic


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