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On the maintenance of sunspots - an ion hurricane mechanism
Schatten, K. H.; Mayr, H. G.
AA(NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD), AB(NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 299, Dec. 15, 1985, p. 1051-1062. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
Solar Physics
NASA/STI Keywords:
Atmospheric Circulation, Solar Activity, Solar Atmosphere, Sunspots, Advection, Atmospheric Ionization, Energy Distribution, Faculae, Solar Magnetic Field
Bibliographic Code:


Inward and downflow motions below the photosphere are considered to be a means of cooling and powering sunspot dynamics. Parker's superadiabatic effect is examined with attention focused on the energetics involved in ionization advection. The current analysis enhances Parker's mechanism by allowing for a 2 m/s downflow velocity at 2000 km depth to significantly reduce the photospheric irradiance to near umbral intensities. Similarities between sunspots and terrestrial hurricanes are noted, and it was found that ionization energy plays the same role in sunspots as latent energy plays in terrestrial weather systems. Based on the hypothesis that magnetic fields are important in organizing the motions on the sun, some understanding is provided of: (1) the instability which drives the cooling mechanism for sunspots, (2) the low latitude appearance of sunspots, (3) active region development with faculae following sunspot growth, (4) the role of the fluid in maintaining the magnetic field and the role of the field as a focal point for the fluid downflow, (5) the heating mechanism and structure of faculae, (6) energy balance in active regions, and (7) the behavior difference of pores and ephemeral active regions in relation to ordinary sunspots and active regions.

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