Solar Physics

, Volume 241, Issue 1, pp 185–193 | Cite as

A Note on Saturation Seen in the MDI/SOHO Magnetograms

  • Y. LiuEmail author
  • A. A. Norton
  • P. H. Scherrer


A type of saturation is sometimes seen in sunspot umbrae in MDI/SOHO magnetograms. In this paper, we present the underlying cause of such saturation. By using a set of MDI circular polarization filtergrams taken during an MDI line profile campaign observation, we derive the MDI magnetograms using two different approaches: the on-board data processing and the ground data processing, respectively. The algorithms for processing the data are the same, but the former is limited by a 15-bit lookup table. Saturation is clearly seen in the magnetogram from the on-board processing simulation, which is comparable to an observed MDI magnetogram taken one and a half hours before the campaign data. We analyze the saturated pixels and examine the on-board numerical calculation method. We conclude that very low intensity in sunspot umbrae leads to a very low depth of the spectral line that becomes problematic when limited to the 15-bit on-board numerical treatment. This 15-bit on-board treatment of the values is the reason for the saturation seen in sunspot umbrae in the MDI magnetogram. Although it is possible for a different type of saturation to occur when the combination of a strong magnetic field and high velocity moves the spectral line out of the effective sampling range, this saturation is not observed.


Spectral Line Solar Phys Circular Polarization Disk Center Campaign Data 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.W.W. Hansen Experimental Physics LaboratoryStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.National Solar ObservatoryTucsonUSA

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