We present high-resolution studies of the solar polar magnetic fields near sunspot maximum in 1989 and towards sunspot minimum in 1995. We show that, in 1989, the polar latitudes were covered by several unipolar regions of both polarities. In 1995, however, after the polar field reversal was complete, each pole exhibited only one dominant polarity region. Each unipolar region contains magnetic knots of both polarities but the number count of the knots of the dominant polarity exceeds that of the opposite polarity by a ratio of order 4:1, and it is rare to find opposite polarity pairs, i.e., magnetic bipoles. These knots have lifetimes greater than 7 hours but less than 24 hours. We interpret the longitudinal displacement of the knots over a 7-hour period as a measure of the local rotation rate. This rotation rate is found to be generally consistent with Snodgrass' (1983) magnetic rotation law. In an attempt to obtain some insight into the operation of the solar dynamo, sketches of postulated subsurface field configurations corresponding to the observed surface fields at these two epochs of the solar cycle are presented.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science