Solar Physics

, 293:20 | Cite as

IRIS Observations of Spicules and Structures Near the Solar Limb

  • C. E. AlissandrakisEmail author
  • J.-C. Vial
  • A. Koukras
  • E. Buchlin
  • M. Chane-Yook


We have analyzed Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) spectral and slit-jaw observations of a quiet region near the South Pole. In this article we present an overview of the observations, the corrections, and the absolute calibration of the intensity. We focus on the average profiles of strong (Mg ii h and k, C ii and Si iv), as well as of weak spectral lines in the near ultraviolet (NUV) and the far ultraviolet (FUV), including the Mg ii triplet, thus probing the solar atmosphere from the low chromosphere to the transition region. We give the radial variation of bulk spectral parameters as well as line ratios and turbulent velocities. We present measurements of the formation height in lines and in the NUV continuum from which we find a linear relationship between the position of the limb and the intensity scale height. We also find that low forming lines, such as the Mg ii triplet, show no temporal variations above the limb associated with spicules, suggesting that such lines are formed in a homogeneous atmospheric layer and, possibly, that spicules are formed above the height of \(2''\). We discuss the spatio-temporal structure of the atmosphere near the limb from images of intensity as a function of position and time. In these images, we identify p-mode oscillations in the cores of lines formed at low heights above the photosphere, slow-moving bright features in O i and fast-moving bright features in C ii. Finally, we compare the Mg ii k and h line profiles, together with intensity values of the Balmer lines from the literature, with computations from the PROM57Mg non-LTE model, developed at the Institut d’ Astrophysique Spatiale, and estimated values of the physical parameters. We obtain electron temperatures in the range of \({\sim}\, 8000~\mbox{K}\) at small heights to \({\sim}\, 20\,000~\mbox{K}\) at large heights, electron densities from \(1.1\times 10^{11}\) to \(4\times 10^{10}~\mbox{cm}^{-3}\) and a turbulent velocity of \({\sim}\, 24~\mbox{km}\,\mbox{s}^{-1}\).


Chromosphere, quiet Transition region Spectrum, ultraviolet Spectral line, intensity and diagnostics 



The authors gratefully acknowledge use of data from the IRIS and SDO (AIA and HMI) databases. IRIS is a NASA small explorer mission developed and operated by LMSAL with mission operations executed at NASA Ames Research center and major contributions to downlink communications funded by ESA and the Norwegian Space Centre. C.E. Alissandrakis and A. Koukras wish to thank the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale for their warm hospitality during their stay in Orsay.

Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Astro-Geophysics, Department of PhysicsUniversity of IoanninaIoanninaGreece
  2. 2.Institut d’ Astrophysique SpatialeCNRS (UMR 8617) Université Paris-Sud 11OrsayFrance

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