Two-dimensional spectroscopy of photospheric shear flows in a small δ spot

C. Denker, N. Deng, A. Tritschler, Vasyl Yurchyshyn

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12 Scopus citations


In recent high-resolution observations of complex active regions, long-lasting and well-defined regions of strong flows were identified in major flares and associated with bright kernels of visible, near-infrared, and X-ray radiation. These flows, which occurred in the proximity of the magnetic neutral line, significantly contributed to the generation of magnetic shear. Signatures of these shear flows are strongly curved penumbral filaments, which are almost tangential to sunspot umbrae rather than exhibiting the typical radial filamentary structure. Solar active region NOAA 10756 was a moderately complex β δ sunspot group, which provided an opportunity to extend previous studies of such shear flows to quieter settings. We conclude that shear flows are a common phenomenon in complex active regions and δ spots. However, they are not necessarily a prerequisite condition for flaring. Indeed, in the present observations, the photospheric shear flows along the magnetic neutral line are not related to any change of the local magnetic shear. We present high-resolution observations of NOAA 10756 obtained with the 65-cm vacuum reflector at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO). Time series of speckle-reconstructed white-light images and two-dimensional spectroscopic data were combined to study the temporal evolution of the three-dimensional vector flow field in the β δ sunspot group. An hour-long data set of consistent high quality was obtained, which had a cadence of better than 30 seconds and subarcsecond spatial resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-238
Number of pages20
JournalSolar Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Active regions: magnetic fields
  • Active regions: velocity field
  • Flares: pre-flare phenomena
  • Flares: relation to magnetic field
  • Sunspots: magnetic fields
  • Sunspots: penumbra


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