Comparison of theoretical and observed Ca II 8542 Stokes profiles in quiet regions at the centre of the solar disc

Jurčák, J.; Štěpán, J.; Trujillo Bueno, J.; Bianda, M.
Bibliographical reference

Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 619, id.A60, 10 pp.

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Context. Interpreting the Stokes profiles observed in quiet regions of the solar chromosphere is a challenging task. The Stokes Q and U profiles are dominated by the scattering polarisation and the Hanle effect, and these processes can only be correctly quantified if 3D radiative transfer effects are taken into account. Forward-modelling of the intensity and polarisation of spectral lines using a 3D model atmosphere is a suitable approach in order to statistically compare the theoretical and observed line profiles. Aims: Our aim is to present novel observations of the Ca II 8542 Å line profiles in a quiet region at the centre of the solar disc and to quantitatively compare them with the theoretical Stokes profiles obtained by solving the problem of the generation and transfer of polarised radiation in a 3D model atmosphere. We aim at estimating the reliability of the 3D model atmosphere, excluding its known lack of dynamics and/or insufficient density, using not only the line intensity but the full vector of Stokes parameters. Methods: We used data obtained with the ZIMPOL instrument at the Istituto Ricerche Solari Locarno (IRSOL) and compared the observations with the theoretical profiles computed with the PORTA radiative transfer code, using as solar model atmosphere a 3D snapshot taken from a radiation-magnetohydrodynamics simulation. The synthetic profiles were degraded to match the instrument and observing conditions. Results: The degraded theoretical profiles of the Ca II 8542 line are qualitatively similar to the observed ones. We confirm that there is a fundamental difference in the widths of all Stokes profiles: the observed lines are wider than the theoretical lines. We find that the amplitudes of the observed profiles are larger than those of the theoretical ones, which suggests that the symmetry breaking effects in the solar chromosphere are stronger than in the model atmosphere. This means that the isosurfaces of temperature, velocity, and magnetic field strength and orientation are more corrugated in the solar chromosphere than in the currently available 3D radiation-magnetohydrodynamics simulation.
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Magnetism, Polarization and Radiative Transfer in Astrophysics

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