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Real and virtual unipolar regions


Difficulties in relating magnetograph measurements to the actual solar magnetic field are discussed. After a brief review both of problems inherent in the nature of the measurements and of sources of instrumental error, we show that field measurements taken within the photosphere can map out large-scale regions of a single magnetic polarity even though these regions contain no footpoints of large-scale magnetic structures, but instead only aggregates of small, unresolved bipoles. This may occur wherever the density of unresolved bipoles has a preferred orientation and a spatial variation along the direction of that orientation. We call these regionsvirtual unipolar regions, as they are not connected to regions of opposite polarity by field loops or lines passing through the corona. Investigation of these regions shows that they can arise at widely separated locations, and that they may evolve into real unipolar magnetic regions which are connected to the chromospheric and coronal fields. These results can explain a number of puzzling aspects of magnetograph observations of the solar background magnetic field.

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Snodgrass, H.B., Wilson, P.R. Real and virtual unipolar regions. Sol Phys 148, 179–194 (1993).

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  • Magnetic Field
  • Magnetic Structure
  • Opposite Polarity
  • Magnetic Polarity
  • Solar Magnetic Field