Angular Dependence of the Facular–Sunspot Coverage Relation as Derived by MDI Magnetograms
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Previous studies have shown that the variation over the solar magnetic activity cycle of the area of facular/network features identified from broad-band and narrow-band imagery is positively correlated with the sunspot area and number, the relation being described as either linear or quadratic. On the other hand, the temporal variation of the spatial distributions of faculae, network and sunspots follows patterns that are less obviously correlated, so that we expect the relation that describes variation of the area coverage of different types of magnetic features to vary with the position over the disk. In this work we employ Michelson Doppler Interferometer (MDI) full-disk magnetograms acquired during solar cycle 23 and at the beginning of cycle 24 to investigate the relation between the coverage of magnetic elements characterized by different amounts of magnetic flux and located at different angular distances from disk center with the sunspot number. In agreement with some previous studies we find that daily data are best described by a quadratic function while data averaged over six months are best described by a linear function. In both cases the coefficients of the fits show large dependence on the position over the disk and the magnetic flux. We also find that toward disk center six-month averaged data show asymmetries between the ascending and the descending phases. The implications for solar irradiance modeling are discussed.
KeywordsSolar magnetic fields Photosphere – Solar cycle Observations – Sunspots Statistics
The author is grateful to Luca Bertello for reading the manuscript and for providing useful comments and suggestions about the analysis of MDI magnetograms.
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