Statistical analysis of filament features based on the Hα solar images from 1988 to 2013 by computer automated detection method

Q. Hao, C. Fang, Wenda Cao, P. F. Chen

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40 Scopus citations


We improve our filament automated detection method which was proposed in our previous works. It is then applied to process the full disk Hα data mainly obtained by the Big Bear Solar Observatory from 1988 to 2013, spanning nearly three solar cycles. The butterfly diagrams of the filaments, showing the information of the filament area, spine length, tilt angle, and the barb number, are obtained. The variations of these features with the calendar year and the latitude band are analyzed. The drift velocities of the filaments in different latitude bands are calculated and studied. We also investigate the north-south (N-S) asymmetries of the filament numbers in total and in each subclass classified according to the filament area, spine length, and tilt angle. The latitudinal distribution of the filament number is found to be bimodal. About 80% of all the filaments have tilt angles within [0°, 60°]. For the filaments within latitudes lower (higher) than 50°, the northeast (northwest) direction is dominant in the northern hemisphere and the southeast (southwest) direction is dominant in the southern hemisphere. The latitudinal migrations of the filaments experience three stages with declining drift velocities in each of solar cycles 22 and 23, and it seems that the drift velocity is faster in shorter solar cycles. Most filaments in latitudes lower (higher) than 50° migrate toward the equator (polar region). The N-S asymmetry indices indicate that the southern hemisphere is the dominant hemisphere in solar cycle 22 and the northern hemisphere is the dominant one in solar cycle 23.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number33
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Sun: chromosphere
  • Sun: filaments, prominences
  • Sun: magnetic fields
  • techniques: image processing


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