The Depiction of Coronal Structure in White-Light Images

Huw Morgan, Shadia Rifai Habbal, Richard Woo

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The very steep decrease in density with heliocentric distance makes imaging of coronal density structures out to a few solar radii challenging. The radial gradient in brightness can be reduced using numerous image processing techniques, thus quantitative data are manipulated to provide qualitative images. We introduce a new normalizing-radial-graded filter (NRGF): a simple filter for removing the radial gradient to reveal coronal structure. Applied to polarized brightness observations of the corona, the NRGF produces images which are striking in their detail. Total-brightness, white-light images include contributions from the F corona, stray light, and other instrumental contributions which need to be removed as effectively as possible to properly reveal the electron corona structure. A new procedure for subtracting this background from LASCO C2 white-light, total-brightness images is introduced. The background is created from the unpolarized component of total-brightness images and is found to be remarkably time-invariant, remaining virtually unchanged over the solar cycle. By direct comparison with polarized-brightness data, we show that the new background-subtracting procedure is superior in depicting coronal structure accurately, particularly when used in conjunction with the NRGF. The effectiveness of the procedures is demonstrated on a series of LASCO C2 observations of a coronal mass ejection (CME).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-272
Number of pages10
JournalSolar Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2006


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