Park, S., Chae, J. & Litvinenko, Y.E. (2009). Rates of photospheric magnetic flux cancellation measured with Hinode. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 704(1), L71-L74.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/4131
Photospheric magnetic flux cancellation on the Sun is generally believed to be caused by magnetic reconnection occurring in the low solar atmosphere. Individual canceling magnetic features are observationally characterized by the rate of flux cancellation. The specific cancellation rate, defined as the rate of flux cancellation divided by the interface length, gives an accurate estimate of the electric field in the reconnecting current sheet. We have determined the specific cancellation rate using the magnetograms taken by the Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) aboard the Hinode satellite. The specific rates determined with SOT turned out to be systematically higher than those based on the data taken by the Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) aboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. The median value of the specific cancellation rate was found to be 8 × 106 G cm s-1—a value four times that obtained from the MDI data. This big difference is mainly due to a higher angular resolution and better sensitivity of the SOT, resulting in magnetic fluxes up to five times larger than those obtained from the MDI. The higher rates of flux cancellation correspond to either faster inflows or stronger magnetic fields of the reconnection inflow region, which may have important consequences for the physics of photospheric magnetic reconnection.