Observations of Small-Scale Photospheric Magnetic Fields

  • J. Harvey
Part of the International Astronomical Union / Union Astronomique Internationale book series (IAUH, volume 4-2)


If the Sun is observed like a star, without spatial resolution, its magnetic field seldom exceeds 1 Gauss. But with high spatial resolution the field is seen to be largely concentrated into kG structures. Observations of the structure and dynamics of solar magnetic fields can therefore provide a guide to the nature of magnetic fields of other stars which cannot be resolved. Solar activity and the structure of the chromosphere and inner corona are intimately linked with magnetism and a complete understanding of these features often depends on magnetic field details. There are unsolved physical problems involving solar magnetic fields which have challenged many physicists. For example, confinement of small-scale fields in kG structures is a problem of current interest (Parker, 1976; Piddington, 1976; Spruit, 1976). Solar observers are no less challenged since the Sun presents us with a complicated magnetic field having a range of scales from global to less than the scale of our best observations as illustrated in Figures 1, 2, and 3. This paper is a survey of observational techniques and results at the small-scale end of the spectrum of sizes in the solar photosphere. This topic has been frequently reviewed (e.g. Athay, 1976; Beckers, 1976; Deubner, 1975; Howard, 1972; Mullan, 1974; Severny, 1972; Stenflo, 1975) so that recent work is emphasized here.


Magnetic Field Solar Phys Line Profile Disk Center Spectrum Line 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© IAU 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Harvey
    • 1
  1. 1.Kitt Peak National ObservatoryTucsonUSA

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