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Rotation of the photospheric magnetic fields - A north-south asymmetry
Antonucci, E.; Hoeksema, J. T.; Scherrer, P. H.
AA(Torino, Università, Turin, Italy), AB(Stanford University, CA), AC(Stanford University, CA)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 360, Sept. 1, 1990, p. 296-304. Previously announced in STAR as N90-14177. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
Solar Physics
NASA/STI Keywords:
Asymmetry, Interplanetary Magnetic Fields, Photosphere, Rotation, Solar Atmosphere, Solar Cycles, Solar Magnetic Field, Differential Geometry, Fourier Analysis, Maps, Solar Corona, Solar Observatories, Sunspots
Bibliographic Code:


During most of solar cycle 21 the large-scale photospheric field rotated more rapidly in the Northern Hemisphere than in the southern. The large-scale northern field rotated with a 26.9 day period (synodic), was centered at 15 degrees N, and covered a latitude zone about 24 degrees wide. The large-scale southern field rotated with a periodicity of 28.1 days, was centered at 26 degrees S, and covered a latitude zone about 32 degrees wide. Our analysis showed rotational power at only a few discrete latitudes and frequencies in each hemisphere. The center of each peak lies near to the sunspot differential rotation curve. The largest scale field contributes to the configuration of the coronal and interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). The strength of the first harmonic of the northern field suggests that this structure may be related to the 4-sector pattern observed in the IMF polarity. The southern field had much lower power at the first harmonic of the solar rotation rate and so would contribute only to a 2-sector structure in the IMF. These results were discovered in Fourier analysis of photospheric synoptic charts obtained at the Wilcox Solar Observatory from 1976 to 1986 and confirmed in higher resolution maps from the National Solar Observatory. Mt. Wilson magnetic field measurements from solar cycle 20 show a similar north-south asymmetry.

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