Latitude dependence of the solar granulation during the minimum of activity in 2009
1 Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie de l’Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, Université de Toulouse, CNRS; section Observatoire du Pic du Midi, 57 avenue d’Azereix, 65008 Tarbes, France
2 Institut für Physik, Karl-Franzen Universität Graz, Universitätsplatz 5, 8010 Graz, Austria
Received: 13 November 2015
Accepted: 30 September 2016
Context. Knowledge of the latitude variation of the solar granulation properties (contrast and scale) is useful to better understand interactions between magnetic field, convection, differential rotation, and meridional circulation in the solar atmosphere.
Aims. We investigated the latitude dependence of the contrast and scale of the solar granulation, with the help of HINODE/SOT blue continuum images taken in the frame of the HOP 79 program, along the central meridian and along the equator on a monthly basis in 2009 during the last solar minimum of activity.
Methods. We selected the sharpest images in latitude and longitude intervals. The selected images in all the N-S and E-W scans taken in 2009 were combined to get statistically reliable results.
Results. The contrast of the solar granulation decreases towards the poles and the scale increases, but not regularly since a perturbation occurs at around 60° where both quantities return close to their values at the disk center.
Conclusions. Such a latitude variation in a period of minimum of activity (2009), is probably not due to magnetic field, neither the quiet magnetic field at the surface, nor the strong magnetic flux tubes associated with active regions, which could be embedded more or less deeply in the convection zone before they reach the surface. The decrease in contrast and increase in scale towards the pole seem to be related to the differential rotation and the perturbation around 60° to the meridional circulation.
Key words: Sun: granulation / Sun: magnetic fields / Sun: rotation / Sun: interior / Sun: evolution
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