Ubiquitous and continuous propagating disturbances in the solar corona

Huw Morgan, Joseph Hutton

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A new processing method applied to Atmospheric Imaging Assembly/Solar Dynamic Observatory observations reveals continuous propagating faint motions throughout the corona. The amplitudes are small, typically 2% of the background intensity. An hour's data are processed from four AIA channels for a region near disk center, and the motions are characterized using an optical flow method. The motions trace the underlying large-scale magnetic field. The motion vector field describes large-scale coherent regions that tend to converge at narrow corridors. Large-scale vortices can also be seen. The hotter channels have larger-scale regions of coherent motion compared to the cooler channels, interpreted as the typical length of magnetic loops at different heights. Regions of low mean and high time variance in velocity are where the dominant motion component is along the line of sight as a result of a largely vertical magnetic field. The mean apparent magnitude of the optical velocities are a few tens of km s−1, with different distributions in different channels. Over time, the velocities vary smoothly between a few km s−1 to 100 km s−1 or higher, varying on timescales of minutes. A clear bias of a few km s−1 toward positive x-velocities is due to solar rotation and may be used as calibration in future work. All regions of the low corona thus experience a continuous stream of propagating disturbances at the limit of both spatial resolution and signal level. The method provides a powerful new diagnostic tool for tracing the magnetic field, and to probe motions at sub-pixel scales, with important implications for models of heating and of the magnetic field
Original languageEnglish
Article number145
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2018


  • methods: data analysis
  • sun: corona
  • sun: magnetic fields
  • sun: oscillations
  • technique: image processing


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