Video image selection studies of granules, pores, and penumbral flows near a large sunspot

Harold Zirin, Haimin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


An excellent high-resolution movie in the green continuum was produced by shift-and-add treatment of two 60-min videotapes obtained at the Big Bear Solar Observatory. We have studied the digitized images by direct measurement, cross-correlation techniques, and correlation tracking. The seeing-limited resolution was about 0.3 arc sec. While the cross-correlation lifetime for granules is about five minutes, we find that actually tracking the growth and decay of a granule gives lifetimes from 10 to 22 minutes, the longest lifetimes pertaining to the largest granules. The longer lifetime comes from tracking the granule while it undergoes large changes in size and shape, while the cross-correlation lifetime is just the time in which it grows by a factor two. All the granules followed began as small elements, grew to some size, and either faded (88%), exploded (2%) or were hit by an exploding granule (10%). The major variation in granule structure appears to be due to substantial variations in the dark lanes, which often double in width. The granulation shows the typical exploding granule behavior; we find the probability that any granule will be affected by an exploding granule during its lifetime to be 10%. We also observed a larger scale explosion covering about 10 granules. This 'explosion' was marked by rapid (1 km s-1) outward flux of the granules. We tracked the development of six small pores, one of which could be followed for two hours. The latter showed four maxima of absorption separated by about 30 min each, virtually disappearing in between. Another was observed to form in about 20 min, but no changes occur in less than granule lifetime. We confirm the inflow in penumbral fibrils observed by Muller. The inflow velocity is about 0.5 km s-1, and all bright spots disappear into the umbra. The inflow which affects bright and dark features in the penumbral fibrils, is also observed in the smaller spots. We surmise that the Evershed flow is limited to the areas between the bright fibrils. We confirm granular outflow outside the penumbra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-255
Number of pages11
JournalSolar Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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