An application of active contours without edges is presented as an efficient and effective means of extracting and characterizing coronal holes. Coronal holes are regions of low-density plasma on the Sun with open magnetic field lines. As the source of the fast solar wind, the detection and characterization of these regions is important for both testing theories of their formation and evolution and from a space weather perspective. Coronal holes are detected in full disk extreme ultraviolet (EUV) images of the corona obtained with the Solar Dynamics Observatory Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (SDO/AIA). The proposed method detects coronal boundaries without determining any fixed intensity value in the data. Instead, the active contour segmentation employs an energy-minimization in which coronal holes are assumed to have more homogeneous intensities than surrounding active regions and quiet Sun. The segmented coronal holes tend to correspond to unipolar magnetic regions, are consistent with concurrent solar wind observations, and qualitatively match the coronal holes segmented by other methods. The means to identify a coronal hole without specification of a final intensity threshold may allow this algorithm to be more robust across multiple datasets, regardless of data type, resolution, and quality.
L. Boucheron, M. Valluri and R. McAteer
Wed, 5 Oct 16