In June 2013, the two scientific instruments onboard the second Sunrise mission witnessed, in detail, a small-scale magnetic flux emergence event as part of the birth of an active region. The Imaging Magnetograph Experiment (IMaX) recorded two small (~5 arcsec) emerging flux patches in the polarized filtergrams of a photospheric Fe I spectral line. Meanwhile, the Sunrise Filter Imager (SuFI) captured the highly dynamic chromospheric response to the magnetic fields pushing their way through the lower solar atmosphere. The serendipitous capture of this event offers a closer look at the inner workings of active region emergence sites. In particular, it reveals in meticulous detail how the rising magnetic fields interact with the granulation as they push through the Sun’s surface, dragging photospheric plasma in their upward travel. The plasma that is burdening the rising field slides along the field lines, creating fast downflowing channels at the footpoints. The weight of this material anchors this field to the surface at semi-regular spatial intervals, shaping it in an undulatory fashion. Finally, magnetic reconnection enables the field to release itself from its photospheric anchors, allowing it to continue its voyage up to higher layers. This process releases energy that lights up the arch-filament systems and heats the surrounding chromosphere.
R. Centeno, J. Rodriguez, J. Iniesta, et. al.
Thu, 13 Oct 16
Comments: Accepted for publication in the Sunrise II Special Issue in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series