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Title: Dynamics of Subarcsecond Bright Dots in the Transition Region above Sunspots and Their Relation to Penumbral Micro-jets

Abstract

Recent high-resolution observations have revealed that subarcsecond bright dots (BDs) with sub-minute lifetimes appear ubiquitously in the transition region (TR) above sunspot penumbra. The presence of penumbral micro-jets (PMJs) in the chromosphere was previously reported. It was proposed that both the PMJs and BDs are formed due to a magnetic reconnection process and may play an important role in heating of the penumbra. Using simultaneous observations of the chromosphere from the Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) on board Hinode and observations of the TR from the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph , we study the dynamics of BDs and their relation to PMJs. We find two types of BDs, one that is related to PMJs, and another that does not show any visible dynamics in the SOT Ca ii H images. From a statistical analysis we show that these two types have different properties. The BDs that are related to PMJs always appear at the top of the PMJs, the vast majority of which show inward motion and originate before the generation of the PMJs. These results may indicate that the reconnection occurs at the lower coronal/TR height and initiates PMJs at the chromosphere. This formation mechanism is in contrast with themore » formation of PMJs by reconnection in the (upper) photosphere between differently inclined fields.« less

Authors:
;  [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Koramangala, Bangalore 560034 (India)
  2. School of Earth and Space Sciences, Peking University (China)
  3. University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22654553
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 835; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CHROMOSPHERE; INTERFACES; LIFETIME; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; OSCILLATIONS; PHOTOSPHERE; RESOLUTION; SUN; TELESCOPES; ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION

Citation Formats

Samanta, Tanmoy, Banerjee, Dipankar, Tian, Hui, and Schanche, Nicole, E-mail: tsamanta@iiap.res.in, E-mail: huitian@pku.edu.cn, E-mail: dipu@iiap.res.in, E-mail: ns81@st-andrews.ac.uk. Dynamics of Subarcsecond Bright Dots in the Transition Region above Sunspots and Their Relation to Penumbral Micro-jets. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/835/2/L19.
Samanta, Tanmoy, Banerjee, Dipankar, Tian, Hui, & Schanche, Nicole, E-mail: tsamanta@iiap.res.in, E-mail: huitian@pku.edu.cn, E-mail: dipu@iiap.res.in, E-mail: ns81@st-andrews.ac.uk. Dynamics of Subarcsecond Bright Dots in the Transition Region above Sunspots and Their Relation to Penumbral Micro-jets. United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/835/2/L19.
Samanta, Tanmoy, Banerjee, Dipankar, Tian, Hui, and Schanche, Nicole, E-mail: tsamanta@iiap.res.in, E-mail: huitian@pku.edu.cn, E-mail: dipu@iiap.res.in, E-mail: ns81@st-andrews.ac.uk. Wed . "Dynamics of Subarcsecond Bright Dots in the Transition Region above Sunspots and Their Relation to Penumbral Micro-jets". United States. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/835/2/L19.
@article{osti_22654553,
title = {Dynamics of Subarcsecond Bright Dots in the Transition Region above Sunspots and Their Relation to Penumbral Micro-jets},
author = {Samanta, Tanmoy and Banerjee, Dipankar and Tian, Hui and Schanche, Nicole, E-mail: tsamanta@iiap.res.in, E-mail: huitian@pku.edu.cn, E-mail: dipu@iiap.res.in, E-mail: ns81@st-andrews.ac.uk},
abstractNote = {Recent high-resolution observations have revealed that subarcsecond bright dots (BDs) with sub-minute lifetimes appear ubiquitously in the transition region (TR) above sunspot penumbra. The presence of penumbral micro-jets (PMJs) in the chromosphere was previously reported. It was proposed that both the PMJs and BDs are formed due to a magnetic reconnection process and may play an important role in heating of the penumbra. Using simultaneous observations of the chromosphere from the Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) on board Hinode and observations of the TR from the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph , we study the dynamics of BDs and their relation to PMJs. We find two types of BDs, one that is related to PMJs, and another that does not show any visible dynamics in the SOT Ca ii H images. From a statistical analysis we show that these two types have different properties. The BDs that are related to PMJs always appear at the top of the PMJs, the vast majority of which show inward motion and originate before the generation of the PMJs. These results may indicate that the reconnection occurs at the lower coronal/TR height and initiates PMJs at the chromosphere. This formation mechanism is in contrast with the formation of PMJs by reconnection in the (upper) photosphere between differently inclined fields.},
doi = {10.3847/2041-8213/835/2/L19},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal Letters},
number = 2,
volume = 835,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}
  • Observations with the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) have revealed numerous sub-arcsecond bright dots in the transition region above sunspots. These bright dots are seen in the 1400 Å and 1330 Å slit-jaw images. They are clearly present in all sunspots we investigated, mostly in the penumbrae, but also occasionally in some umbrae and light bridges. The bright dots in the penumbrae typically appear slightly elongated, with the two dimensions being 300-600 km and 250-450 km, respectively. The long sides of these dots are often nearly parallel to the bright filamentary structures in the penumbrae but sometimes clearly deviate from the radialmore » direction. Their lifetimes are mostly less than one minute, although some dots last for a few minutes or even longer. Their intensities are often a few times stronger than the intensities of the surrounding environment in the slit-jaw images. About half of the bright dots show apparent movement with speeds of ∼10-40 km s{sup –1} in the radial direction. Spectra of a few bright dots were obtained and the Si IV 1402.77 Å line profiles in these dots are significantly broadened. The line intensity can be enhanced by one to two orders of magnitude. Some relatively bright and long-lasting dots are also observed in several passbands of the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory, and they appear to be located at the bases of loop-like structures. Many of these bright dots are likely associated with small-scale energy release events at the transition region footpoints of magnetic loops.« less
  • Using high-resolution transition region (TR) observations taken by the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph ( IRIS ) mission, Tian et al. revealed numerous short-lived subarcsecond bright dots (BDs) above sunspots (mostly located in the penumbrae), which indicate yet unexplained small-scale energy releases. Moreover, whether or not these subarcsecond TR brightenings have any signature in the lower atmosphere and how they are formed are still not fully resolved. This paper presents a multi-wavelength study of the TR penumbral BDs using a coordinated observation of a near disk center sunspot with IRIS and the 1.6 m New Solar Telescope (NST) at the Bigmore » Bear Solar Observatory. NST provides high-resolution chromospheric and photospheric observations with narrowband H α imaging spectroscopy and broadband TiO images, respectively, complementary to IRIS TR observations. A total of 2692 TR penumbral BDs are identified from a 37 minute time series of IRIS 1400 Å slit-jaw images. Their locations tend to be associated more with downflowing and darker fibrils in the chromosphere, and weakly associated with bright penumbral features in the photosphere. However, temporal evolution analyses of the BDs show that there is no consistent and convincing brightening response in the chromosphere. These results are compatible with a formation mechanism of the TR penumbral BDs by falling plasma from coronal heights along more vertical and dense magnetic loops. The BDs may also be produced by small-scale impulsive magnetic reconnection taking place sufficiently high in the atmosphere that has no energy release in the chromosphere.« less
  • Penumbral microjets (PMJs) are short-lived, fine-structured, and bright jets that are generally observed in chromospheric imaging of the penumbra of sunspots. Here we investigate their potential transition region signature by combining observations with the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope in the Ca ii H and Ca ii 8542 Å lines with ultraviolet imaging and spectroscopy obtained with the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), which includes the C ii 1334/1335 Å, Si iv 1394/1403 Å, and Mg ii h and k 2803/2796 Å lines. We find a clear corresponding signal in the IRIS Mg ii k, C ii, and Si iv slit-jawmore » images, typically offset spatially from the Ca ii signature in the direction along the jets: from base to top, the PMJs are predominantly visible in Ca ii, Mg ii k, and C ii/Si iv, suggesting progressive heating to transition region temperatures along the jet extent. Hence, these results support the suggestion from earlier studies that PMJs may heat to transition region temperatures.« less
  • Penumbral microjets (PJs) are transient narrow bright features in the chromosphere of sunspot penumbrae, first characterized by Katsukawa et al. using the Ca ii H-line filter on Hinode's Solar Optical Telescope (SOT). It was proposed that the PJs form as a result of reconnection between two magnetic components of penumbrae (spines and interspines), and that they could contribute to the transition region (TR) and coronal heating above sunspot penumbrae. We propose a modified picture of formation of PJs based on recent results on the internal structure of sunspot penumbral filaments. Using data of a sunspot from Hinode/SOT, High Resolution Coronalmore » Imager, and different passbands of the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) on board the Solar Dynamics Observatory, we examine whether PJs have signatures in the TR and corona. We find hardly any discernible signature of normal PJs in any AIA passbands, except for a few of them showing up in the 1600 Å images. However, we discovered exceptionally stronger jets with similar lifetimes but bigger sizes (up to 600 km wide) occurring repeatedly in a few locations in the penumbra, where evidence of patches of opposite-polarity fields in the tails of some penumbral filaments is seen in Stokes-V images. These tail PJs do display signatures in the TR. Whether they have any coronal-temperature plasma is unclear. We infer that none of the PJs, including the tail PJs, directly heat the corona in active regions significantly, but any penumbral jet might drive some coronal heating indirectly via the generation of Alfvén waves and/or braiding of the coronal field.« less
  • Variations in the flux of 3.2-cm polarized radiation early in the development of two sunspot groups is analyzed. The thickness of the transition layer between chromosphere and corona is estimated.