Activity-Brightness Correlations for the Sun and Sun-like Stars

ArticleinThe Astrophysical Journal Letters 739(2):L45 · September 2011with18 Reads
DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/739/2/L45
Abstract
We analyze the effect of solar features on the variability of the solar irradiance in three different spectral ranges. Our study is based on two solar-cycles' worth of full-disk photometric images from the San Fernando Observatory, obtained with red, blue, and Ca II K-line filters. For each image we measure the photometric sum, Σ, which is the relative contribution of solar features to the disk-integrated intensity of the image. The photometric sums in the red and blue continuum, Σr and Σb, exhibit similar temporal patterns: they are negatively correlated with solar activity, with strong short-term variability, and weak solar-cycle variability. However, the Ca II K-line photometric sum, ΣK, is positively correlated with solar activity and has strong variations on solar-cycle timescales. We show that we can model the variability of the Sun's bolometric flux as a linear combination of Σr and ΣK. We infer that, over solar-cycle timescales, the variability of the Sun's bolometric irradiance is directly correlated with spectral line variability, but inversely correlated with continuum variability. Our blue and red continuum filters are quite similar to the Strömgren b and y filters used to measure stellar photometric variability. We conclude that active stars whose visible continuum brightness varies inversely with activity, as measured by the Ca HK index, are displaying a pattern that is similar to that of the Sun, i.e., radiative variability in the visible continuum that is spot-dominated.
    • "pectra taken by the Solar Ultraviolet Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SUSIM, Brueckner et al., 1993) on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) to model the variations in the UV part of the spectrum. Dudok de Wit et al. (2014) employ a set of radio observations to empirically model the SSI from the EUV to the visible part of the spectral range. Preminger et al. (2011) analyse the effect of the photometric sum of the solar features identified from images obtained at the San Fernando Observatory (SFO, Chapman et al., 1997) in the red and blue continuum to model the variation in TSI. For the understanding of the UV spectral range in particular, Lean et al. (1998) and Worden et al. (1998, 2001) analysed "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The variation of solar irradiance is one of the natural forcing mechanisms of the terrestrial climate. Hence, the time-dependent solar irradiance is an important input parameter for climate modelling. The solar surface magnetic field is a powerful proxy for solar irradiance reconstruction. The analyses of data obtained with the Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) on board the SOHO mission are therefore useful for the identification of solar surface magnetic features to be used in solar irradiance reconstruction models. However, there is still a need for automated technologies that would enable the identification of solar activity features from large databases. To achieve this we present a series of enhanced segmentation algorithms developed to detect and calculate the area coverages of specific magnetic features from MDI intensitygrams and magnetograms. These algorithms are part of the Automated Solar Activity Prediction (ASAP) tool. The segmentation algorithms allow us to identify the areas on the solar disk covered by magnetic elements inside and outside boundaries of active regions. Depending on their contrast properties, magnetic features within an active region boundary are classified as sunspot umbra and penumbra, or faculae. Outside an active region boundary magnetic elements are identified as network. We present the detailed steps involved in the segmentation process and provide the area coverages of the segmented MDI intensitygrams and magnetograms. The feature segmentation has been carried out on daily intensitygrams and magnetograms from April 21, 1996 to April 11, 2011. This offers an exciting opportunity to undertake further investigations that benefit from solar features segmentations, such as solar irradiance reconstruction, which we plan to investigate in the future.
    Full-text · Dataset · May 2015 · Astronomische Nachrichten
    • "pectra taken by the Solar Ultraviolet Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SUSIM, Brueckner et al., 1993) on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) to model the variations in the UV part of the spectrum. Dudok de Wit et al. (2014) employ a set of radio observations to empirically model the SSI from the EUV to the visible part of the spectral range. Preminger et al. (2011) analyse the effect of the photometric sum of the solar features identified from images obtained at the San Fernando Observatory (SFO, Chapman et al., 1997) in the red and blue continuum to model the variation in TSI. For the understanding of the UV spectral range in particular, Lean et al. (1998) and Worden et al. (1998, 2001) analysed "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The variation of solar irradiance is one of the natural forcing mechanisms of the terrestrial climate. Hence, the time-dependent solar irradiance is an important input parameter for climate modelling. The solar surface magnetic field is a powerful proxy for solar irradiance reconstruction. The analyses of data obtained with the Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) on board the SOHO mission are therefore useful for the identification of solar surface magnetic features to be used in solar irradiance reconstruction models. However, there is still a need for automated technologies that would enable the identification of solar activity features from large databases. To achieve this we present a series of enhanced segmentation algorithms developed to detect and calculate the area coverages of specific magnetic features from MDI intensitygrams and magnetograms. These algorithms are part of the Automated Solar Activity Prediction (ASAP) tool. The segmentation algorithms allow us to identify the areas on the solar disk covered by magnetic elements inside and outside boundaries of active regions. Depending on their contrast properties, magnetic features within an active region boundary are classified as sunspot umbra and penumbra, or faculae. Outside an active region boundary magnetic elements are identified as network. We present the detailed steps involved in the segmentation process and provide the area coverages of the segmented MDI intensitygrams and magnetograms. The feature segmentation has been carried out on daily intensitygrams and magnetograms from April 21, 1996 to April 11, 2011. This offers an exciting opportunity to undertake further investigations that benefit from solar features segmentations, such as solar irradiance reconstruction, which we plan to investigate in the future.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Sun has long been considered a constant star, to the extent that its total irradiance was termed the solar constant. It required radiometers in space to detect the small variations in solar irradiance on timescales of the solar rotation and the solar cycle. A part of the difficulty is that there are no other constant natural daytime sources to which the Sun's brightness can be compared. The discovery of solar irradiance variability rekindled a long-running discussion on how strongly the Sun affects our climate. A non-negligible influence is suggested by correlation studies between solar variability and climate indicators. The mechanism for solar irradiance variations that fits the observations best is that magnetic features at the solar surface, i.e. sunspots, faculae and the magnetic network, are responsible for almost all variations (although on short timescales convection and p-mode oscillations also contribute). In spite of significant progress important questions are still open. Thus there is a debate on how strongly irradiance varies on timescales of centuries (i.e. how much darker the Sun was during the Maunder minimum than it is today). It is also not clear how the solar spectrum changes over the solar cycle. Both these questions are of fundamental importance for working out just how strongly the Sun influences our climate. Another interesting question is how solar irradiance variability compares with that of other cool dwarfs, particularly now that observations from space are available also for stars.
    Article · Aug 2007
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