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Astron. Astrophys. 358, 1122-1132 (2000)

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Flow geometry in a sunspot penumbra

R. Schlichenmaier and W. Schmidt

Kiepenheuer-Institut für Sonnenphysik, Schöneckstrasse 6, 79104 Freiburg, Germany (schliche/wolfgang @kis.uni-freiburg.de)

Received 25 January 2000 / Accepted 10 April 2000


We have measured the material flow in the penumbra of a large symmetric sunspot during the passage of the spot across the solar meridian. The line-of-sight velocity field has been obtained from Doppler measurements in a Fe II line using a filter spectrometer with a large field of view. From data sets taken on different days, i.e. at different view angles, we have reconstructed the magnitude and orientation of the penumbral flow field in the deep photosphere. We find upflows near the inner and downflows at the outer boundary of the penumbra with nearly horizontal outflow in between. From our measurements we derive the following flow geometry: narrow upflow channels rise at different penumbral radii, they bend outwards with a nearly horizontal outflow, and are finally tilted a few degrees downwards at the outer penumbral boundary, but still inside the spot. The flow reaches its maximum speed of about 3.5 km s-1 in the outer part of the penumbra. Our findings are a significant step towards an understanding of the mass balance of the Evershed flow. The proposed geometry is consistent with recent numerical models of penumbral filaments.

Key words: Sun: photosphere – Sun: sunspots – Sun: magnetic fields

Send offprint requests to: R. Schlichenmaier

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: June 20, 2000