Solar Physics

, Volume 278, Issue 1, pp 121–136

Velocity Characteristics of Rotating Sunspots


DOI: 10.1007/s11207-011-9923-2

Cite this article as:
Zhu, C., Alexander, D. & Tian, L. Sol Phys (2012) 278: 121. doi:10.1007/s11207-011-9923-2


A statistical study is carried out to investigate the detailed relationship between rotating sunspots and the emergence of magnetic flux tubes. This paper presents the velocity characteristics of 132 sunspots in 95 solar active regions. The rotational characteristics of the sunspots are calculated from successive SOHO/MDI magnetograms by applying the Differential Affine Velocity Estimator (DAVE) technique (Schuck, 2006, Astrophys. J.646, 1358). Among 82 sunspots in active regions exhibiting strong flux emergence, 63 showed rotation with rotational angular velocity larger than 0.4° h−1. Among 50 sunspots in active regions without well-defined flux emergence, 14 showed rotation, and the rotation velocities tend to be slower, compared to those in emerging regions. In addition, we investigated 11 rotating sunspot groups in which both polarities show evidence for co-temporary rotation. In seven of these cases the two polarities co-rotate, while the other four are found to be counter-rotating. Plausible reasons for the observed characteristics of the rotating sunspots are discussed.


Flares, relation to magnetic field Sunspots, velocity 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyRice UniversityHoustonUSA